Another round of the event They Go Really Well Together has been announced and this time the host is Dennis of kookjegek.nl and the theme - mint an mustard. The event is about combining ingredients that have similar volatile aroma compounds and testing if they really do go together in real life.
While last round's strawberry and coriander combination seemed easy-peasy, my mind got quite stuck with this one. *** mint with *** mustard? Oh come on! But I managed to create a dish that I really liked and didn't sound like it originated from the Fear Factor TV show.
This dish can of course be prepared without peppermint - just drop cauliflower florets into boiling water without any additions. Or use broccoli instead of cauliflower. I must admit it was my attention at first, but due to the fact that there was no broccoli at the store where I went...well, cauliflower sounded nice and turned out to be successful in the dish.
I give you...
Peppermint flavoured cauliflower gratin with cheese and mustard
At least about 400 g cauliflower
100 g grated cheese
1/2 dl heavy cream
1 tbsp mild mustard
about 1 dl loosely packed dried peppermint leaves (or even better - use fresh ones, this is what I had at home)
1. Fill a saucepan with over one litre of water and add dried peppermint leaves. Boil from some minutes.
2. Cut cauliflower into florets and add to water, also add some salt. Boil for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile mix the eggyolk with mustard, then add heavy cream and grated cheese. Season the sauce with salt and white pepper.
4. Drain the cauliflower florets and discard peppermint leaves (or if you want to have a stronger peppermint flavour - you can chop some of them and mix into the sauce). Mix the florets with the sauce.
5. Grease a baking dish and fill it with the cauliflower and gratin sauce mixture. Bake at 200C for about 20 minutes.
I didn't actually recognise peppermint when I tasted a floret after boiling them and was a bit disappointed. But when it was time to try the finished dish, the taste was there! First the comfortable (and quite rich!) taste of cauliflower gratin with cheese, then came the taste of mustard trying to overwhelm the one of cheese and finally the taste of peppermint - somehow melting into the mustard taste and leaving a quite fresh feeling into my mouth.
I do feel I used the right amount of peppermint - it calmly reminded itself in the dish, without shouting I'm here! Mustards are of course different, I used Finnish mild mustard and the amount seemed okay. I even got a good comment from my mother - something like 'quite good' which means more than the usual Estonian 'normal' and should - I guess - be taken as a compliment.