Kale Salad and Cauliflower “Gratin”

Kale Salad and Cauliflower “Gratin” 

Serves 6-8

The pleasantly bitter notes of fresh kale dressed in a sharp vinaigrette is balanced beautifully by creamy cauliflower, rich cheese sauce and crisp, buttery bread crumbs.

For salad: 

1/2 pound kale, de-ribbed and cut in 1/4” ribbons 

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar 

1/2 cup olive oil – the good stuff! 

1 tbs grainy mustard 

For gratin: 

4 cups cauliflower florets 

2 tbs butter 

1 cup panko bread crumbs 

1 tbs each chopped thyme and parsley 

2 cups of the Best Cheese Sauce Ever! 


Note: Prepare The Best Cheese Sauce Ever! before continuing with recipe.

• Make vinaigrette: On your cutting board, sprinkle garlic with coarse salt and mash into a paste using the flat side of your knife. In a small bowl, whisk together with vinegar, mustard and a grind or three of pepper. While whisking, drizzle oil into vinegar mixture to form a creamy emulsion. 

• Toss with kale and let rest for 10 minutes to soften. 

• While kale rests, steam cauliflower until tender but still firm. 

• Melt butter in small skillet. Toss in breadcrumbs and herbs. Cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown and remove immediately from pan. 

• Season cauliflower with salt and pepper, place over kale salad and top with cheese sauce and bread crumbs.

Tip: I find the experience of eating raw kale salads similar to chewing on grass clippings from the front yard. Dressing the kale at least ten minutes before serving makes it tender. Twenty minutes would be even better.

The Best Cheese Sauce Ever!

Makes about 2 cups


3 tbs unsalted butter

3 tbs flour

2 cups whole milk


White pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

2 tbs dry sherry

Cayenne pepper


• Melt butter over low heat in a 1 quart saucepan. Stir in flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to let brown.

• Pour in milk, whisking briskly to avoid lumps.

• Cook an additional 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until thickened.

• Season to taste with nutmeg and white pepper. Stir in cheese until smooth. Add dry sherry

• Season to taste with cayenne, salt and pepper and additional sherry if needed.

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