(Serves 4 as side dish)
1 tsp salt
2 qt water
1 head cauliflower, trimmed into big florets
1 head broccoli, trimmed into florets
1 cup thick Béchamel sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, fontina, gruyere, your choice)
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1. Boil salted water in a pot. Add cauliflower, put the lid on, bring to boil again and then simmer for 8 minutes. Add the broccoli, replace the lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer the vegetables into a shallow baking dish.
3. Make the béchamel sauce and season it. Then pour it over the vegetables.
4. Sprinkle cheese and breadcrumbs all over the sauce.
5. Bake for 30 minutes in the top 1/3 segment of the oven. Then broil for 4-5 minutes until the sauce bubbles and turns brown.
1. The phrase "1 head" is subjective. In Singapore and Malaysia, the average "head" of cauliflower is about 6 inches wide. In France and the US, it is easily 8 inches wide. So it is really at your discretion.
2. I like to use minimal kitchenware and hence do not use the strainer when draining the vegetables. What I usually do is to bring the pot to the sink, fill it with cold tap water while pouring off the hot water. I use the lid to prevent the vegetables from falling off the pot as I tilt it. Finally, I fill the pot with cold tap water again, and use my bare hands to pick the vegetables, shake off the water and put in the baking dish that's sitting by the sink.
3. If the oven does not come with a broiler, just add 15 minutes to the baking time. You should get a similar brown crust, but the vegetables may be a tad too soft. However you can prevent this by reducing the boiling duration by 3-4 minutes.