A gratin that won’t weigh you down.
Usually smothered in heavy cream and copious amounts of melty, gooey cheese, gratins are both comfort food and festive special occasion fare.
They’re also rich, heavy, and total gut-busters.
But what if they could be lightened — without sacrificing the luscious quality we love about them?
Leave it to the geniuses behind America’s Test Kitchen to do just that — at least with cauliflower gratin.
Meet “Modern Cauliflower Gratin,” an inventive take on the classic. It’s one of more than 700 innovative recipes in the new cookbook, “Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.
If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, then you know all too well how meticulous these recipes have been tested until perfected. Although the book is called “Vegetables” illustrated, it doesn’t mean this is a vegetarian cookbook. While vegetables are dominant, many recipes feature meat or seafood, or make use of chicken broth.
Set this down in front of your guests for real treat.
The holidays practically demand a showstopper entree, something with heft and presence that will make guests not only sit up and take notice, but eager to dig in with complete abandon.
For me, that’s long been bone-in prime rib crusted with salt and rosemary, fresh Dungeness crabs with their deep orange shells that give way to snowy fluffy meat, a glazed ham enveloped with a thick glistening layer of juicy fat or a massive leg of lamb cooked on the grill with copious amounts of garlic.
Now, Nik Sharma of the award-winning A Brown Table blog ups that leg of lamb option by adding a load of irresistible ginger, cardamom, turmeric, juniper, cloves, almonds, pistachios and luscious yogurt to the equation.
His “Roast Leg of Lamb” marinades in that creamy, unctuous sauce tinged the color of daffodils for a full day before being slid into the oven.
The recipe is from his first cookbook “Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food” (Chronicle Books) cookbook, of which I received a review copy.
Sharma is an Oakland-based writer, recipe developer and photographer (yes, he took all the wonderfully evocative images in his book) who writes a weekly cooking column for the San Francisco Chronicle.