FOODIE FRIDAY: ELEVATED CAULIFLOWER PURÉE
This is not a new and exciting food-find that is going to absolutely blow you mind. (if so, I may want to ask you what rock you have been living under) I started making cauliflower puree as a substitute for mashed potatoes in 2008 when the people I was cooking for were asking for “low carb cooking”. Mashing cauliflower and passing it off as mashed potatoes seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, with their lamb rack or grilled filet. Since then, it has really become commonplace. Why write about it? Well, there’s mashed cauliflower, and then there is silky smooth and lovely puréed cauliflower which will blow you mind. As I sit as the second on watch (basically I am a breathing body right now) on a tedious delivery listening to Pink Floyd on the Classic Vinyl XM Radio, it seems like a good time to wax poetic about elevating your cauliflower game.
Unfortunately, achieving this level of purée really only seems to be possible with the kick-ass Vitamix blender I have on the boat. I say this with all authority because I have used everything else: Bamix immersion blender, Cuisinart immersion blender, Kitchenaid immersion blender, Oster blender, Cuisinart Blender, various Food Processors…You get the point. I have seen my way around a lot of kitchen appliances! Do not despair. If a blender worth somewhere north of $500 is well beyond your means (and seriously, it’s beyond mine, but I am loving it so much I am going to own one someday) then give this a go using whatever you have and take my word for the sexy silkiness that the Vitamix provides.
Cauliflower is a low-in-carb vegetable. If you are needing to hit specific macros, this one is not going to provide you with much in the line of carbohydrate. One cup of the florets is roughly 5g of carbs. Translated out, a medium (5-6” diameter head) is about 29g carbs. That’s the entire vegetable. It has good fiber and reasonable levels of vitamin C, B6, magnesium. So maybe you eat this as a non-starchy carbohydrate and because it gives you some good vitamins…and it can be pretty tasty to boot.
This purée is elevated because of it’s silky texture and also the flavours I have added. I am a huge, huge fan of truffles (the fungus). I love anything truffle! I want to go to a truffle festival in Europe one day so that I can eat an entire meal – start to finish- flavoured with the things. I want to eat so much that I feel sick. I maybe have some strange dreams…and I am not sure I could EVER get sick of the taste of truffle…and it maybe makes me a little strange, but I embrace this. Examine yourselves, folks. Bet you have some weird goals/dreams too.
If you don’t like truffles (gasp!), or don’t want to buy truffle oil or salt, then you can also just resort to some good quality butter and garlic. (I sincerely hope you like garlic!!)
Cauliflower Purée – this will feed 4 as a side.
1 head of cauliflower (try to buy organic). It also can be the fun orange (extra beta carotein) or purple (freak the kids out with those anthocyanins)
3 TBSP grassfed unsalted butter. Kerrygold is always a decent option.
Sea salt, or truffle salt (yum!)
White or black pepper
2-3 cloves of garlic minced, if you are going that route.
Fill about 1 inch of hot water in the bottom of a pot with a lid that will hold all of your cauliflower comfortably. Put it over medium-high heat with lid on.
Cut the cauliflower up, discarding the leaves and the larger pieces of stems. Cut to even-sized florets. When the water in the pot is starting to steam, add the veg.
Steam the cauliflower for about 12-15 minutes. You can open the lid at that time and poke one of the florets with your paring knife. When they have started to change colour slightly (as in, they are kind of more translucent than when raw) and your knife slides into one easily, then they are ready.
At this stage, if you have used a steaming basket, then just use tongs and load the cauliflower into the blending device, whatever you are using. If you haven’t used a steaming basket, then drain them quickly and maybe spread the steaming florets on a baking tray for a few minutes to allow some of the water to evaporate away.
Add the butter to the hot cauliflower in the blender. No need to melt. If you have allowed your cauliflower to cool down, then you may need to melt the butter in the microwave before adding to the blender. If you are going the garlic route, then I would melt the butter in a pot on the stove (lowish heat) and add your minced garlic to that pot WHILE the cauliflower is steaming so they will be done at the same time.
This is where my Vitamix use becomes…interesting. This particular model comes with a handy tamper. So as you turn on the Vitamix to purée the vegetables with the butter, you can open the lid and push the florets down towards the blades…
Your cauliflower should be very nicely puréed here, with butter in there making it all creamy and yummy. Add whatever you are adding to taste. This is the point where I poured about 2 TBSP of the truffle oil in as it was still whirring away. Then I put a tsp of the truffle salt and about ¼ tsp of the white pepper. I let it all blend together and had a taste:
I added a bit more of the truffle oil and some Maldon salt to taste. This had been puréed to a texture that was sooooo smooth. So if yours is still lumpy, blend some more. We are going for smooth, no lumps, ELEVATED…
I think if you are avoiding fats due to dietary restrictions, then you could substitute vegetable or chicken bone broth in there to add some liquid back (if needed). You don’t want to make this soupy. The butter really does add a lovely creaminess, however. I can eat this stuff on it’s own by the bowlful. More traditionally, you would maybe serve it with steak, lamb, roast chicken, pork roast or chops, a nice piece of seared fish. I have been known to reheat a bowl and throw a poached egg on top (with more truffle salt) for breakfast…I do love it!
I hope you give this a try. Try it with the truffle flavor!! Make enough to have leftovers and add some to your meals during the week, or for breakfast as I like to do.
Fair winds and following seas…