Smokey speck and sharp cheddar cheese give this Speck Ham Cheesy Cauliflower dish a wonderfully complex flavor. Serve as a side dish or as an entrée with a green vegetable or a salad. Can also leave out the speck for a delicious vegetarian option.
Guess what I started on Monday? A 10 day whole food detox plan and it doesn’t include anything that is in this recipe! Actually, it does include fresh cauliflower but doesn’t include anything fun, like sugar, potato chips, dairy, or alcohol. Oh yeah and you have to sit down for this one…no caffeine for 10 days. No joke. Not having my daily caffeine is literally enough to drive me over the edge. I like my 2-3 cups of coffee per day and especially love that large mug of it first thing in the morning. Not gonna get it on this detox. Although, I guess that’s the point of a detox, right? Purging the system of the daily nonsense that we put into it so that it works better. Well, I’m already struggling with the no caffeine big time, so here’s a tip: don’t have anything to do with me until this detox is over because I’m gonna be a little grumpy ?
Enough about the detox diet, let’s celebrate this delicious Speck Ham Cheesy Cauliflower recipe. Quick and easy, it’s on the table in 30 minutes. Oven roasted until it’s all hot and bubbling and is just like creamy mac and cheese but using healthy fresh cauliflower instead of pasta. There’s also a huge dose of speck ham (a whole cup!) because nothing’s better than a bunch of salty pork in a cheesy veggie mixture. The speck gives the dish a wonderful smokey flavor and also pairs well with the sharp cheese. Feel free to substitute regular ham, bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto for the Speck, or even leave out the meat entirely for a completely vegetarian dish. By the way, this is the same Speck Alto Adige PGI that I received as a sample and made these yummy Speck Ham Tater Tots. This speck is so superior in quality and taste and I’m absolutely in love with it!
Speck Ham Cheesy Cauliflower is the perfect kinda healthy comfort food and a great addition to any meal…unless of course you’re on a detox diet. ?
- 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 1 cup Speck, diced (can substitute bacon, ham, pancetta, or prosciutto)
- 3 Tb unsalted butter
- 3 Tb all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cup milk, whole or low fat
- 2 cups fresh shredded sharp cheese
- 1 Tb Dijon mustard
- salt and fresh ground white pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Butter a 2½ quart baking dish and set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, steam cauliflower florets for 5 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Leave the pot on the stove and reduce the heat to medium. Sauté Speck until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Using the same pot over medium heat, melt butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture thickens. Whisk in the cheese and mustard, whisking until the cheese is fully incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Taste the sauce and add salt and white pepper as needed.
- Stir the cooked cauliflower and speck into the cheese sauce and place the mixture in a buttered baking dish. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until bubbling hot.
- Serve hot as a side dish or as a main dish with a salad or green vegetable. Enjoy!