Cauliflower Cheddar Gratin with Horseradish Crumbs
- 3 lb cauliflower (1 large head), cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch florets
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 oz sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped scallion greens
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 20 (2-inch) square saltine crackers
- 2 tablespoons drained bottled horseradish
Cook cauliflower in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain cauliflower well in a colander and transfer to baking dish.
While cauliflower cooks, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk in a slow stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese, scallion greens, salt, and pepper, whisking until cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and stir gently to combine.
Coarsely crumble crackers into a bowl. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in horseradish. Pour over crumbs and toss to coat.
Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over cauliflower.
Bake gratin until topping is golden brown, about 10 minutes.