This recipe is wonderfully rich and substantial and you won’t miss the carbs one little bit.
Manchego cheese is a Spanish sheep’s cheese and of course, almonds are really good for you!
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup whole roasted almonds with skins on, plus 2 tbsp coarsely chopped almonds (3 oz)
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp finely shredded aged Manchego (or aged Gouda)
A large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 2lb head of cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2 inch florets
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
Preheat the oven to 400F
In a small saucepan, heat the half and half until steaming, then transfer it to a food processor or blender.
Add the 1/2 cup of whole almonds and process until finely ground. let stand for about 10 minutes.
Strain the half and half through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the almonds to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the ground almonds
In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and the half and half and cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Add 1 cup of the Manchego cheese and whisk until melted. Whisk in the nutmeg, season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
In a large skillet, bring 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, cover and cook over high heat until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
Drain the cauliflower in a colander and wipe out the skillet.
Melt the remaining 2 tbsp of butter in the skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until lightly browned, for about 5 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring until lightly golden, about 2 minutes.
Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Transfer the cauliflower to a 7 by 10 inch glass or ceramic baking dish and spread the Manchego sauce on top.
Sprinkle the gratin with the remaining cheese, the 2 tbsp of chopped almonds and the paprika and bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until bubbling and browned on top.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.