To make the cauliflower, pour water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the salt, olive oil, lemon juice, butter, sugar, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Stir until butter has melted.
Gently lower the cauliflower into the simmering water. The cauliflower should simmer top down in the liquid. No need to stir much. Just let it simmer away for 15 minutes or until very soft. To test the softness, insert a thin knife into the cauliflower. The knife should meet no resistance.
While the cauliflower simmers, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Carefully lift the cauliflower from the water and place in a colander to drain.
Place warm cauliflower in a pie plate. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
Roast for 30 minutes, rotating the pan two or three times during baking.
To extra brown the cauliflower, turn the oven to broil and roast for 3 to 5 more minutes. Keep an eye on the cauliflower to ensure it doesn't burn too much.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the cheese sauce. The cauliflower will be piping hot.
To make the Cheddar Beer Sauce, heat butter in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk together to form a paste and cook for a few seconds to develop a nutty aroma.
Slowly stream in the milk and whisk until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the beer and Worcestershire sauce and whisk until smooth, well incorporated and thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the mustard and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted and smooth.
To serve, place warm cauliflower in a serving dish. Pour the warm cheddar beer sauce around the cauliflower and serve. Enjoy!
recipe inspired by, and adapted from Domenica Restaurant in New Orleans.