Hundred-Year-Old Cauliflower au Gratin Recipe

Cauliflower au Gratin 1

Every week when I go to the farmers’ market I mull over which vegetables to purchase. Sometimes I have a recipe in mind and look for specific vegetables – other times I reverse the process and look for the highest-quality freshest vegetables I can find, and then I search for a recipe. This week was one of the latter weeks. The cauliflower looked perfect, and I just couldn’t  resist buying a head.

When I searched for cauliflower recipes in hundred-year-old cookbooks, I came across a recipe for Cauliflower au Gratin and decided to give it a try.

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

The Cauliflower au Gratin turned out perfectly. The cauliflower was embedded in a creamy white sauce, co-mingled with rich melted cheese from the cheese topping. I put the cauliflower in a casserole dish instead of using the individual ramekins called for in the old recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cauliflower au Gratin

  • Servings: 5 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

approximately 3 1/2 cups cauliflower florets (1 head of cauliflower)

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1.2 cup milk

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Put the cauliflower florets into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until florets are tender (about 5 minutes). Drain well.

Meanwhile, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour and salt. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Gently stir in the cooked cauliflower, and remove from heat.

Place the cauliflower mixture into a 1 quart casserole dish,  and sprinkle with the shredded cheese and bread crumbs. Bake until hot and bubbly (about 15 minutes).

26 thoughts on “Hundred-Year-Old Cauliflower au Gratin Recipe

  1. I can imagine picking something from the garden one hundred years ago and going in the kitchen and then deciding what to cook.

  2. Lo and behold, it’s more comfort food from Mom’s table. This was a favorite when I was growing up. Later, when Mom grew bold, she used to combine broccoli and cauliflower, or broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and complete the recipe in exactly the same way. It was good no matter the combination of veggies.

    1. Cauliflower Cheese, as we know it, has been a family favourite for years. However, I and my siblings are the ones who have become bold and taken it to the next level!

  3. It is so neat to find out that the way i learned to cook , has been in writing for so long. My Mom would have used a cookbook ,but I don’t remember Grandma using one except for baking. She was great a …you dump at little of this and a pinch of that.. Cook.

  4. Excellent recipe! I make this often but I stir lots of cheese into the white sauce then pour it over the cauliflower before adding the crumbs. I also add sauteed mushrooms to the sauce, because, why not?

  5. Such a tasty and simple recipe. Thanks for sharing it. Cauliflower is a wonderful veggie and this recipe sounds like it compliments it perfectly.

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