Cauliflower Feta Cheese with Crispy Sage and Nutmeg
I just came back from a wonderful trip in Crete and am still eating lots of feta. I picked up a beautiful cauliflower in the market and thought about making a slightly different type of cauliflower cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic with it’s intense cheesy flavour of mature cheddar and crispy topping. That said, I do find that it can be hard to find a good one when you’re in a restaurant and personally I have nightmares from too much cheese. This is easy to make and the feta adds a nice lightness to the dish and using spelt flour for the sauce again keeps things less heavy. The crispy sage is key to adding more flavour and worth doing.
1 large cauliflower with the leaves, chopped into small florets and keep the leaves
200g feta cheese
40g spelt flour
450ml warm semi-skimmed milk
Large handful of fresh sage leaves
2-3 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and have a standard sized baking dish at the ready!
Add the cauliflower florets to a large saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for 3 minutes and then add in the leaves for another minute. Drain the cauliflower and arrange in the prepared dish.
Set a frying pan to a high heat and when hot add the sage leaves to crisp up. This should only take about 3 minutes and set them to one side on a plate.
Now you can start on the sauce. Set a saucepan to a medium to high heat and add the butter to melt and gently begin to bubble. Then add the spelt flour and start stirring continuously for about 2 minutes as you want to cook off the flour flavour. Slowly pour in a little of the warm milk and use a whisk to mix to avoid any lumps. The mix will thicken a lot at first and then as you add the milk it will slowly turn into this slightly thick sauce. At this point crumble in half of the feta, nutmeg shavings, half the crispy sage, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Taste to check the seasoning and pour over the cauliflower making sure everything is covered in sauce. Crumble over the leftover feta and season with more salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbling. Arrange the last bits of crispy sage on top and dig in!