Cauliflower, The Potato Alternative
Low carb and a vegetable that is actually good for you. Cauliflower has been the best discovery since quinoa and garbanzo beans. The texture is similar to that of a potato and pumpkin and it's one of the best alternative to dishes requiring a side of potato mash. In my fitness journey and learning to augment my relationship with food, this has been the best find.
My partner's colleagues asked me for the recipe, so I thought I'd post it here too. I know it is several weeks' late but better than never. ;)
It is super easy to make. You do it as you would mash a potato. Only difference is, there's no gravy. Or is there?
Well, that's the bonus round at the end of this blog post.
Best way to soften cauliflower is to steam or boil them. I prefer mine steamed. You want to let it cool for a good 10 - 15 minutes before you mash it up. You could use a food processor or a traditional hand masher. Results will be similar.
For my cauliflower mash I use cream and butter. You can always flavour it with herbs of any kind but my recipe calls for thyme. It just gives it that special flavour burst that I can't quite describe. Lifts the humble cauliflower mash. Another secret flavour is parmesan cheese. So good!
Also, cauliflower tends to have a slightly pungent, acquired smell to it. Thyme and parmesan sits nicely to cancel that out. Also, I've found, organic cauliflower does not have that weird acquired smell.
Again, like I said, you can sprinkle any herb or spice you like. I find adding some curry powder also helps lift the dish. Especially if you have it with steak or sausages, it is a perfect flavour pairing.
What you will need
- One head of cauliflower
- 1/2 cup cream
- 4 oz / 113g unsalted butter* (or 1 stick)
- Several sprigs of thyme
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- Salt and pepper (optional)
- A fairly large pot or large steamer enough to hold the entire vegetable
- In a large pot, bring water to boil, with enough water to fully submerge cauliflower.
- Chop cauliflower, seperate into their florets, removing the outer leaves that come with it.
- Add chopped cauliflower into the boiling pot of water, sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. and drizzle with some oil.
- Boil for about 20 minutes till soft. You may also steam the cauliflower if you like. I steam mine and all I need to do is sprinkle a few pinches of salt before putting them in the steamer. Steaming takes about 10 mins longer.
- Check that the cauliflower is cooked soft by piercing with a fork. It should crumble easily.
- Drain and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
- In a bowl or food processor, add cauliflower, butter, cream, parmesan cheese and thyme and mash/blend till desired smoothness.
*if you have to use salted butter, just omit adding any more salt. You can choose to cut the butter or add more. In my experience one whole head of cauliflower will do well with one stick of butter. But that's just me. As with all cooking, you make the choice, taste as you go along.
Bonus - Gravy
Gravy is one of those things that tie it all together. This recipe above should really do without gravy. It's packed with flavour from the cheese and butter, it should be good on it's own. But if you really have to... Here's the thing. Most people depend on an instant gravy pre-mix. Those things are nasty. If you are already grilling meats - you already have a base to work with. After setting aside your meats to rest, the rest of the 'burnt', dried out bits in the pan is where all the flavour is. All you need to do is to add water to it, over medium heat and deglaze away. You will end up with a nice thick gravy to use on your cauliflower. The fat and flavour is the perfect gravy that packs a punch.
And if you made a roast and don't intend to use all that left over stock in the pan, save that. Put that away in the fridge and it will keep for at least a week. Use that as a base or gravy. You also have the option to add some corn starch mixed with room temperature water to add to the stock as it is simmer to thicken it up a tad.