Duet of Cauliflower

I never ever would have thought of cauliflower puree being so incredible, but I swear, I could eat bowls of it! And the contrast between the puree and the gratin is fantastic. You all have to try this - even if you hate cauliflower, you might like this. --CLS

1 1/4 lb. cauliflower florets (from 1 small head) half the florets left whole and half sliced 1/2" thick
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 Tbs. creme fraiche or sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 thin strips bacon (about 4 oz) cooked crisp and crumbled
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere
2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan

In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water cook the whole florets until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Drain, add the cream and milk to the florets and simmer over low heat until very tender, about 9 minutes more. Strain, reserving the milk-mixture, and puree the florets until very smooth, adding enough milk/cream to make a loose puree. Stir in the creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 350F.
In the same skillet you cooked the bacon, pour off the fat and add the olive oil. Add the sliced cauliflower and cook over low heat until almost tender and lightly browned on both sides, about 11 minutes. Spread half the cauliflower slices in a shallow baking dish, cover with the bacon and top with the remaining cauliflower. Add the stock and cheeses and bake for about 15 minutes, or until bubbly.

Serve the gratin and the puree together.

4 servings.

Source of recipe: Food & Wine