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What purpose did the cornstarch serve?


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I just made cauliflower au gratin (described as such by the author of a cookbook but didn't have bread crumbs -- so was it still "au gratin?").

 

butter individual bowls.

grate cheese and toss with cornstarch.

place diced onion in bottom of buttered bowls, half the cheese, cauliflower, other half of cheese, top with grated parm. cover w/ foil, bake till done, uncover till top is lightly browned. Oh, s/p each layer.

 

So what purpose did the cornstarch serve? Also, my understanding of "au gratin" is a toasted mix of cheese and breadcrumbs. It didnt' have breadcrumbs but the cheese was mixed with the cornstarch. Does that make it au gratin?

 

I've never made it before. It **seems** as if it would have been the same w/o the cornstarch. the bottom ch was perfectly browned, the middle was gooey, the top was perfect. It was a bit oily but baked cheese things usually are. I was wondering if the cornstarch would help with that but it didn't seem to, or not much anyway.

 

any ideas?

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My guess is the cornstarch was there to thicken up the juices as it cooked.

I'm guessing it was a shortcut way to make a cheese sauce. Usually, I would sprinkle flour (instead of corn starch) over the cheese, then relayer with potatoes, etc to do the same thing.

ETA that augratin, I believe, is the cheese part. Otherwise, you would have just made baked cauliflower.

Edited by LauraGB
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