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Dinner Tonight! | Second Helpings

French From the Fridge, Almost

May 30, 2001|MAYI BRADY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sometimes what you can whip up with some odds and ends from the refrigerator makes for a pleasant surprise. A couple of hard-boiled eggs. A hunk of ham. Yes, even some leftover cooked cauliflower. (Really. Save it and use it for this recipe.)

These ingredients help create a version of the classic French dish choufleur Polonaise . I've tweaked it a little--OK, maybe a lot--to make this one-dish meal, but I actually was inspired by my refrigerator.

Add a salad and voila , dinner is served.

Cauliflower and Ham Gratin

Active Work Time: 20 minutes Total Preparation Time: 40 minutes

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

2 teaspoons minced garlic

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup milk

Salt, pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound cooked cauliflower florets

1/2 pound diced ham

2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole or baking dish.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and cook it until very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and continue cooking while stirring another 2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth and milk and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and the cayenne.

Pour the sauce into a large bowl. Stir in the cauliflower, ham, eggs and parsley, then turn the mixture into the baking dish. Top with the bread crumbs, then bake the casserole until heated through and the bread crumbs have browned, about 20 minutes.

4 to 6 servings. Each of 6 servings: 216 calories; 873 mg sodium; 106 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; 2.50 grams fiber.

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