Cauliflower, Potato, & Leek Gratin with Tintern Cheese Sauce
This gratin with cauliflower, baby potatoes, and leek was exceptional, mostly due to the pungent Tintern Cheese I used in the sauce.
Tintern is an expensive Welsh cheese, creamy and sharp, with shallots and green flecks of chives that are highlighted by it's bright green wax rind. It was rather decadent to use it in a sauce, but, heck, life is short! Usually found in high-end grocery stores and cheese stores, I was surprised to find it in our newest Safeway (Strawberry, Mill Valley). I've seen this priced as high as $27/lb, but I paid much less. Whole Foods (San Rafael) no longer carry this cheese because they found it molded quickly under the rind.
It's really too sharp a cheese for me to eat on its own. But it was tremendous in this cream sauce and would make a fabulous topping for a baked potatoes or steamed vegetables. This dish hit the spot because it was comfort food with pizazz! Perfect for a rainy day supper. Serve with beer, ale, or cider.
Cauliflower, Potato, & Leek Gratin with Tintern Cheese Sauce:
2/3 head of cauliflower, cut into florettes
5 baby potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large leek, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
3-4 oz Tintern Cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 400.
Boil a med saucepan of salted water and cook the sliced potatoes and cauliflower until almost tender (approx. 5 mins).
Melt the butter in pan and cook the leek until soft (6-8 minutes).
In a saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour, stirring continuously for 2 minutes until the mixture starts to froth. Add the milk and cook until the sauce starts to thicken, stirring frequently. At desired thickness, turn off heat and stir in cheese vigorously until melted and smooth.
Mix the cooked leek in with the sauce. Place the cauliflower and potato slices in an earthenware dish and stir in sauce. Bake for 15 minutes, until starting to brown. Finish under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.