This side dish is fantastic! It’s insanely easy, and I’m really excited to try the suggested variations on it. It’s rich and velvety, and a nice change of pace from the “same old” side dishes. I topped mine with some freshly chopped parsley. I wish I would have made more…it disappeared in a snap!
The Food You Want to Eat – Ted Allen
yield: Makes 4 servings
Mashed potatoes really serve primarily as a silky, textural vehicle for butter, cream, and salt, in my view. Cauliflower does an excellent job as well — and considering all the other carb sources on your table today, there’s no harm in a whipped white dish that contains few of them.
Steaming works better than boiling for this purée because boiling leaches flavor out of the cauliflower. You can get a big pot with a steamer insert anywhere for about $20.00. But go ahead and boil if you need to; just use less liquid to thin the purée. (The cauliflower will have absorbed a lot of water in boiling.)
There’s no law that says you can’t purée other quick-cooking vegetables as well; imagine whirled peas, as the Phish fans used to exhort on their Volvo bumpers. The bright green color looks fantastic on a plate.
Pull the leaves off the cauliflower and cut out the core in a kind of cone-shaped section. Then pull the florets off the head with your fingers, using a knife when you need to. Break or cut the florets into smaller, regular pieces (about 1 1/2 inch) and put them in the steamer insert. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in the steamer pot, add the insert, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until you can poke a paring knife into the stems and you can feel that there’s still a little texture there. (Tooth, it’s called.) Stir the cauliflower well a few times while it’s steaming so that it cooks evenly.
Dump about half of the cauliflower into a food processor. Measure out 3/4 cup of the steaming liquid, and pour in about 1/4 cup; purée until smooth. Now dump the rest of the cauliflower on top, add about 1/3 of the remaining liquid, and purée again. You’ll need to stop and scrape and stir the purée a few times; add more liquid as you need to, but with the understanding that you really want to add as little liquid as you can get away with. With the motor running, process in the butter, salt, and pepper through the feed tube. Taste for seasoning and serve hot. (You can reheat over low heat in the same pan if you’re not eating immediately.)
Cook’s Note: Cauliflower is an excellent canvas for other flavors. I like things spicy and I love mustard, so I sometimes add a tablespoon of Colman’s, the amazing English mustard powder, to this purée;. You might also add curry powder, grated Parmigiano, crumbled blue cheese, or a chopped fresh herb.
MacGourmet Rating: 5 Stars