06 October 2011

50 Women Game-Changers - Clotilde Dusoulier

This week's Game-Changer comes right from the blogging world ... and has had a wonderful influence on bloggers who aspire to use fresh ingredients and give them a spin on classic recipes. Along the way, Clotilde Dusoulier has given her readers a glimpse of her private world with family and neighbors, her neighborhood in Paris, and the city, in general. For foodies, travel enthusiasts, and beginning cooks, she is a breath of fresh air - never haughty or presumptuous - just a fresh-faced sweet woman with a sense of fun, a passion for good food, and a willingness to teach readers a bit of her French language and culture.

As she becomes more successful as a food writer, it's only natural that she has become somewhat of a 'brand'. Food blogging has come a long way, is wildly popular, and is grist for every food producer and cooking product company out there. Because her blog has been around for so long and has gained such a following, she has been able to be a direct influence on many a foodie, as they begin to structure their blogs, delve into the business side of blogging, and make the move from casual food diarist to published food writer and author. Therein, lies the reason, I think, for inclusion on this Gourmet Live list.

In researching Clotilde, I spent a good deal of time on her blog Chocolate & Zucchini. It was there that I found this recipe for Gratin de Chou-Fleur. Cauliflower is just beautiful right now and can be had for a song at the market. I love Gruyère cheese and bechamel sauce. What could be more yummy than a warm gooey vegetable dish that includes all three ingredients?

an adaptation of
Chocolate & Zucchini’s
Gratin de Chou-Fleur

Preheat oven – 350 °F
Bake 20 minutes and then broil under a low flame and watch carefully to brown the crust


1 head of fresh cauliflower about 1½ lb. – divided into florets that are broken to bite-sized minis
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
Grinding of nutmeg
Pinches of kosher salt and black pepper
One small onion, peeled and stuck with 4 whole cloves
1 ⅓ c. whole milk plus a bit more
¾ c. grated Gruyère cheese
2 heaping tbsp. Panko bread crumbs, tossed with 1 tbsp. melted butter and 2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Making the Dish:

1. Preheat oven and butter a mid-sized shallow casserole.

... love this Polish pottery cookware ... it reminds me of my pink zinnias

2. Steam the cauliflower until it is tender-crisp. Use a slotted spoon to move it from the steamer to the casserole.

... this head of cauliflower was enormous, so I used only half ... in fact, this recipe is very easy to scale up or down ... just sayin'

3. Make a béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.

4. Add the flour and stir until it is bubbling and beginning to form a coating on the bottom of the pan.

5. Slowly drizzle in the milk, whisking as you go.

6. Whisk the sauce until it begins to thicken, then add the clove-studded onion, a pinch of kosher salt, black pepper, and a grating of nutmeg. Drizzle a bit more milk over the top of the sauce, cover, remove from the heat and let it sit for several minutes to absorb the spices and onion essence.

7. Grate the Gruyère cheese and sprinkle half of the cheese over the cooled cauliflower.

I needed to add some color to the dish, so I added the parsley and butter to the Panko crumbs

8. Prepare the bread crumbs by melting the butter and tossing the crumbs and parsley with the butter.

9. Remove the onion from the béchamel, stir in the last bit of milk and whisk, if necessary to smooth things out.

10. Drizzle the béchamel sauce over the cauliflower and cheese, sprinkle the other half of the cheese atop, sprinkle the bread crumbs over all.

... my nifty strainer saved my butt, as there were lumps in my bechamel sauce

11. Scatter a pinch of salt and black pepper over the breading, do one more grating of nutmeg, and bake the casserole for 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven.

... really glad I added the parsley ... next time, maybe even a sprinkle of cayenne pepper atop for zing

12. When the edges of the casserole begin to bubble, turn on the broiler and watch carefully while the bread crumb topping becomes golden and crunchy.

this smelled so good

13. Serve hot from the oven, but beware the cheese sauce is very hot!

Delicious! We had ours with a broiled steak and steamed green beans ... so good! One thing that Clotilde recommends is adding a handful of julienned strips of salt-brined ham to the mix for an easy supper plate ... add a green salad and it's perfection. Maybe next time!

And now, it's time to see what all the other bloggers who are participating in this 50 Women Game-Changers blogquest are making and saying about our dear Clotilde ... you can start at One Perfect Bite
to begin your trip around cyberspace! Enjoy all the links at the end of mary's post on Blueberry Coffee Cake! have a great weekend, folks!


  1. Cauliflower is my nemesis but a creamy, cheesy sauce would transport it to something I would really enjoy!!!

  2. @ Val - I'm with you! Cauliflower, for me, is all about a tender crisp texture,so that it's not mush in the mouth, and a good and subtle sauce or dressing with flavours that stand 'beside' the cauliflower flavour and don't overwhelm it.

  3. I've been appreciating fresh cauliflower more and more lately... Love them!

  4. I'm so making this asap. This recipe is nice and simple, and I've been hoarding a chunk of gruyere for just such an occasion. I love your gratin dish, too.

  5. Well, I'm pretty sure that cauliflower + cheese + bechamel = heaven. Soooooo... YUM! Great post :D

  6. I'm loving this recipe! Easy to make and a great way to serve cauliflower.


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