It’s Cheesfare Week in Greece and for all other Orthodox Christians in the world. Although Great Lent doesn’t begin until next Monday, this week is filled with many cheese-filled sides, snacks and entrees. Greeks will be having dishes with lots of cheese like pasta dishes, pizzas and what could be better than fried cheese?
One of my favourite side dishes is cauliflower and/or broccoli topped with a cheese sauce. Your choice of cheese or cheeses here and the old days, the cheeses were used-up during Tyrini (cheesefare week) and I grated the leftover aged cheddar in the fridge. This dish involved cooking the vegetables (I prefer steaming broccoli and cauliflower to retain nutrients) and then making a simple bechamel and flavouring with some fresh grated nutmeg and the grated cheese.
Baked Cauliflower & Broccoli With Cheddar
1 small head of cauliflower
1 head of broccoli
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. finely diced onion
2 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour
2 cups warm milk
1 cup aged cheddar cheese, grated
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
- Rinse your broccoli and cauliflower and place in a steam basket over a pot of water containing about 2 inches of water. Cover and steam for about 5 minutes then place in an ice bath or over running cold water then drain. Break up the cauliflower and broccoli into florets and place in an deep baking dish and reserve.
- Now place a pot on your stovetop over medium heat and add the butter and once melted, add the onions and sweat for a couple of minutes. Now add the flour and stir for a minute then add the warm milk in increments while stirring. Season with some salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. and continue to stir until the sauce has thickened and once it coats the back of your spoon, add the grated cheese and stir until melted.
- Pre-heat your oven to 400F and pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and broccoli and baked for 10-15 minutes or until just golden on top. Serve as a side or even on top of some egg noodles.
*Optional – add some bread crumbs on top of the cheese and bake.
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