Oh Cauliflower, where have you been all my life? It’s been so hard to like you, always served up as a rather tasteless companion to dips, or in a mixture of other bland, steamed vegetables. Who knew you could be so versatile and delicious?
I have seen mashed cauliflower as a healthier substitute for mashed potatoes on so many websites, and I’ve tried it and never could get past the watery texture. It just didn’t work for me. Then, brainstorm! Instead of contributing to that watery texture by steaming or boiling the cauliflower, why not roast it and remove as much of the moisture as possible? Add some layers of flavor by complementing the slightly sweet taste of the roasted cauliflower with caramelized onions, and throw in some sour cream, cheese, and lots of butter for good measure! Oh, this was so much better than my previous attempts! The cauliflower was not at all soupy when it was processed and actually needed the sour cream to give it that mashed-potato-like texture.
This recipe is all iffy on the ingredients; like mashed potatoes, you have to improvise on the amounts and do lots of tasting to get it just right! I think it will also work great with roasted garlic, other types of cheese (goat cheese…mmm), so play around with it and let me know!
This is also beyond yummy garnished with bits of bacon, if you happen to have some on hand.
- 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
- 1 head of cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
- olive oil
- sour cream (plain, Greek yogurt will probably also work)
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (about 1/3 cup)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place cauliflower in shallow roasting pan and toss with just enough olive oil to coat the pan and the florets. Roast for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, or until cauliflower is browning in places. Shake pan often!
- In a medium-sized saucepan, cook onions over medium to low heat in about 2 tablespoons of butter until very soft and caramelized. This will take about 20 minutes; stir frequently.
- Place roasted cauliflower in a food processor. [I have tried to mash this by hand with a potato masher, and the texture is just wrong. It really needs the food processor.]
- Add a couple spoonfuls of sour cream to the cauliflower and process in pulses. Add more sour cream as necessary and continue to process to get to the desired consistency.
- Add the processed cauliflower to the saucepan with the onions. Stir well. Add Parmesan cheese, several more tablespoons of butter, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve warm!
In case you think all we do is eat and drink…well, you’d generally be right, but once in a blue moon we leave the house. Did so the other night to see The Flatlanders, a trio of Texas songwriters: Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. Great, if a bit elderly show. If you’re not in the loop, try some of their solo works and discover some of the best country music you’ll ever hear.
First up, the debut album from Joe Ely. Featuring a load of songs from Butch Hancock, this is a classic moment, with songs such as “I Had My Hopes up High” and “Tennessee’s Not the State I’m In”. Great stuff, and Ely sounded as vital, and passionate the other night as he did in 1977 when this came out.
Fellow Flatlander – (and Sonny from The Big Lebowski)- Jimmie Dale Gilmore is an American icon who seems to personify Zen cool. Dunno if its the nasal voice, or the mane of gray hair, but the dude is simply too cool. His second album (featuring Butch Hancock songs as well), Jimmie Dale Gilmore features the alt-country standard “Dallas” as well as Hancock’s great “Red Chevrolet”. A brilliant record.