Eat: Cauliflower flan

20Sep10

We adapted this recipe from the Il Viaggio Di Vetri cookbook. We did a few things differently- some of which turned out for the better, some for the worse. First, the original recipe calls for fresh black truffle. Since we don’t live in Piedmont (yet) and didn’t happen to have any fresh ones on hand, we left that ingredient out. We also decided to add a gouda bechamel to give the flan an extra kick. Finally, rather than cooking the flan on the stove, we baked them in the oven. We found that they took a little longer to set this way and therefore the egg yolks inside turned out a bit over cooked- next time we’ll try it over the stove to get a runnier egg yolk.

Cauliflower flan with egg yolk, gouda bechamel, and crispy pancetta

Cauliflower Flan

Ingredients: 12 ounces (4 cups) cauliflower florets, 3 tbsp heavy cream, 1 large whole egg, 1 tbsp flour, salt, pepper, freshly grated nutmeg, 1 tbsp unsalted butter, 6 egg yolks, 6 slices pancetta, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the caulifloewr and boil for 4 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the cauliflower, transfer to a blender, and process until very smooth and thick, adding a little water if its too thick. You should have about 1 cup puree. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, and gently whisk in the cream, whole egg, and flour. Season with salt and pepper and a touch of nutmeg.

Butter six 1/2-cup ramekins. Fill each half way with the mixture. Gently place a raw egg yolk in the center of the mixture in each ramekin and cover with remaining mixture, making sure the egg yolk is completely covered.

Place ramekins in a wide saucepan. Pour in boiling water into the saucepan so they come half way up the ramekins. Cover the pan and cook in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is set.

In the meantime, in a frying pan over medium heat, heat and fry the pancetta for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the edges. Transfer to paper towels and drain. Cut into large bite size pieces.

To make the sauce, melt 3 tbsp butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cup whole milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/4 pound Gouda (or other melting cheese) and whisk just until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the ramekins from the water bath. Top with 2 tbsp béchamel. Grate fresh pepper over the sauce and garnish with freshly picked thyme and garlic flowers.

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