Russian Zakuski / закуски Recipe: Baked Cauliflower Cheese

While the Russians may not have created signature cauliflower cheese they do indeed have their version and enjoy it with gusto.  It’s a great side dish or one for their zakuski board.  It’s by far one of my favourite ways to eat cauliflower, only perhaps overshadowed by fried cauliflower in breadcrumbs.

Russian Zakuski / закуски Recipe Cauliflower Cheese

Here’s my recipe…

Ingredients

Cauliflower florets

3 tbsp plain flour

100g butter

500ml milk

500ml sour cream

100g grated hard cheese

Instructions

Boil the florets in water for five minutes, drain and set aside

Heat the flour in 50g butter until golden brown

Add another 50g of butter to the pan and the milk

Whisk continuously to prevent lumps

Allow the sauce to thicken, then add sour cream

Simmer for five minutes

Put the cauliflower into a greased gratin dish

Pour over the hot sauce

Sprinkle with grated cheese (to ensure the top browns, add a few tbsp of butter to the top)

Russian Zakuski / закуски Recipe Cauliflower Cheese

Bake in the oven on 180°C until golden brown (approximately 25 minutes)

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Anything with a breadcrumb…

Veal Escalope!
Veal Escalope!

I am a real advocate of the breadcrumb.  If it wasn’t for the breadcrumb, I’d have never consumed cauliflower.  The first time I tasted cauliflower was in Kranjska Gora.  Mira, the Grandmother, would gently heat florets of cauliflower in some simmering water, then remove them from the water, let them cool, coat them in egg and breadcrumbs and fry.  Perfect!

Kranjska Gora was also the first place I ever tried veal.  Being thirteen the first time I visited (in 1999) I was actually a bit confused as to what veal was.  I am not ashamed to say this.  However, once I tasted it, I knew I would always be a veal lover.  It is not as unkind as most people think due to media campaigns from previous decades.  British veal in particular is very humane and, I’ll have you meat eaters know (cannot argue with the vegetarians and vegans among you, you have morals, I do not) that when you tuck into some lamb, it is actually killed at a younger age than veal.

A popular dish in Slovenia and Croatia, and no doubt other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, is veal escalope in a breadcrumb crust.  This is such an easy dish to make!

Ingredients

Veal escalopes

Plain flour (with seasoning: salt and black pepper)

Beaten eggs

White breadcrumbs

Butter

Olive oil

Instructions

Put plain flour on a plate

Beat eggs and put in bowl

Put breadcrumbs on plate

Make sure veal is sufficiently flat, if not, beat with a meat hammer

Coat veal in plain flour

Dip veal into beaten egg

Dip veal into breadcrumbs

(For best results: double dip!  No nothing to do with British MPs’ expenses!)

Re-dip into beaten egg

Re-dip into breadcrumbs

Heat olive oil and butter in frying pan

Put veal into pan

veal-2

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on one side

Turn

veal-3

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes maximum

Serve on a bed of watercress, spinach and rocket, drizzled in olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and black pepper

Add a wedge of lemon for perfect taste!

Serve!
Serve!

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