It’s a day for comfort food. The last of the snow has melted but it’s still very chilly, and I’m in the mood for some melted, bubbling cheese. Cauliflower cheese is a British classic, served on its own or as an accompaniment to a main course. It’s usually made with cheddar cheese but you can use any hard cheese with a strong flavour. This variation on this classic dish has a layer of sweet fried onions and chard.
1 onion, sliced into rings
4 chard leaves
a knob of butter
2 tbsp plain flour
1/4 tsp English or Dijon mustard
6 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
a pinch of paprika
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Cut the cauliflower into florets and boil for 8 to 10 minutes until the stalks are tender. Leave the cauliflower to drain in a colander. Slice the onion into rings and fry until soft, then put them in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Slice the chard stems and leaves into strips about 1cm wide. Fry the stems for 2 minutes and then add the leaves, cooking for another minute until they start to wilt, then put them in the dish on top of the onions.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour. Add the milk a few drops at a time until you have a smooth paste, then stir in the rest. Keep stirring until the sauce is thick. Season. Stir in the mustard and 4 tablespoons of the cheese.
Place the cauliflower on top of the chard in the ovenproof dish. Pour over the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, breadcrumbs and finally the paprika. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.