Cauliflower au gratin with bechamel sauce from “La comida de la Familia” of elBulli

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We recently came across a book that caught our attention: “La comida de la Familia”, where people can find out what kind of food Ferran Adrià and his staff (“la familIa”) ate every day at elBulli; and how the different menus were planned and organized in order to offer the employees a healthy, balanced, affordable and mouthwatering menu.

We all have heard of the master chef Ferran Adrià and his reputable restaurant el Bulli. This creative and provocative Michelin 3-star restaurant closed on July 2011, but there have been rumors that it plans to reopen its doors in 2014.
It was only opened for a limited amount of months every year, and although there were several millions of request for making a reservation to eat at the famous restaurant, only a small number of lucky diners could enjoy the experience of tasting Ferran Adrià creations. Dining at one of the best restaurants in the world was a luxury available to few.

We all think of the people that were fortunate enough to get to eat at elBulli, but not many of us have though that the cooks and the staff of the restaurant had to eat as well! 75 people had to be fed daily, and in order to make things work smoothly, everything had to be well planned. A weekly menu was set, and things such as the grocery list, to the recipes on how to prepare an entrée, a main dish and a dessert had to be clear enough so anyone could take care of the cooking.

In “La comida de la familia” one finds recipes for 31 menus prepared at a cost of 3-4 euros per person, as well as really good tips on how to cook meats, eggs, fish, sauces, or how to preserve food, among many other interesting things.

We are going to share with you one of the recipes that you can find in the book. It is a delicious dish prepared with Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

Cauliflower au gratin with bechamel sauce (Serves 6)


–        1 ½ good size cauliflower

–        120 grams of grated parmesan

–        900 ml whole milk (warm)

–        3 tbsp butter

–        12 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

–        ½ bay leaf

–        2 pinches of ground nutmeg

–        2 pinches white pepper

–        1 piece of clove

–         1 small onion

–        3 tbsp wheat flour

–        Salt

Warm the butter and add the flour, stir and let it cook until smooth and golden. Add the warm milk when it starts boiling, and stir so it does not get lumpy. Stick the piece of clove in the onion, and add it to the bechamel, as well as the bay leaf and the white pepper. Cook at low heat for 20 minutes. Strain through a colander and add the salt and the nutmeg. Clean and cut the cauliflower in medium size pieces. Cook in boiling water for 8 minutes. Strain, add salt, white pepper and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Pour the bechamel sauce over the cauliflower, cover with the parmesan cheese and cook au gratin.


In our next post, we will share with you a tasty dessert prepared with Extra Virgin Olive Oil that you can also find in “La comida en Familia”.