This weekend is going to be a cold one in Bridgetown! Stay warm, wherever you are, and find comfort in the reliability of winter veggies - warm squash, roots, tubers, and the noble, sturdy cauliflower!
Here's a fun recipe for this seasonal staple. I picked up a few big beauties at the farmer's market this week, and thought I'd try an old favorite - mock mashed "potatoes". I like this recipe because it uses the whole vegetable - cauliflower leaves and all. I always feel funny not using large parts of my fruits and vegetables, even if I try to make broth with them, but the fabulous Lynne Rossetto Kasper solves that problem by steaming the leaves right along with the cauliflower. Because of this, the end product doesn't look much like mashed potatoes - the greenish tint ruins that illusion - but the texture is really satisfying when you want a big bowl of mash, guilt free, and the leaves add extra fiber.
If you don't use cauliflower often, you should really consider adding it to your repertoire. It's inexpensive, filling, and takes on a fantastic creaminess when cooked. I also like to toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, and cumin, and broil until browned and a bit crispy. Perfect for a quick snack or a simple side dish, this wins over critics every time. Experiment with different seasonings - cauliflower goes really well with a variety of flavors. Here, it pairs well with nutmeg - and plenty of garlic.
Cauliflower-Garlic "Mashed Potatoes"
© 2005 Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Serves 16 to 18 as part of a large menu
2 large heads cauliflower (preferably organic)
10 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons good-tasting butter
6 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Cook in two batches. Set a collapsible steamer basket in a 6-quart pot. Add water to come just above the bottom of the steamer. Cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, wash cauliflower and its leaves. Cut leaves into thin slices. Break cauliflower into flowerettes.
2. Drop leaves onto the steamer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add half the cauliflower, all the garlic, then remaining cauliflower. Sprinkle lightly with more salt. Cover and steam over medium-high heat 8 minutes, or until cauliflower is so tender a knife just slips into it.
3. Drain in a colander, turn into a food processor fitted with the steel knife, and add butter and oil. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with pepper, nutmeg, and more salt if needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, and reheat later.