I'm a bit late to the party on this one. I blame the grumpy old man in me that occasionally pops up. Why wouldn't you want to eat potatoes? Mashed potatoes are one of the worlds great foods! Why are you trying to trick the children and fool your husband by passing off cauliflower as potatoes? Just serve the dang mashed potatoes! Well...Grandpa, that's not the point. Cauliflower tastes good, it's really healthy and it's fun to try something different.
So I finally did and now I get what all the fuss is about. Cooked and smoothed cauliflower is a very different animal from cauliflower on the veggie tray or roasted in the oven. Creamy and comforting - it won't fool anyone that's it's mashed potatoes, but holds it's own as a delicious side dish.
I simmered the buds in buttermilk to add some tang and richness. Don't be alarmed when you see the buttermilk curdle. Those solids are like buttermilk cheese and will smooth out and enrich the end product.
Buttermilk Poached Mashed Cauliflowermakes about 2 cups
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1/2" florets
1 large clove garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, wrapped in cheesecloth
4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Put buttermilk, cauliflower, garlic, salt and peppercorns in a saucepan. Heat on medium-low until you see a little bubbling along the perimeter of the pan then cover and cook until tender, 25-30 minutes. The buttermilk will curdle but as I said earlier, don't worry about it - that's good stuff that will get incorporated into the cauliflower when you puree it. Drain, reserving poaching liquid. Toss peppercorn bundle. Put cauliflower, garlic and buttermilk curds in food processor along with butter and ground pepper and process until smooth adding a little of reserved liquid to desired consistency. I only used a teaspoon or two. Serve hot.
|My peppercorn bundle wasn't tight enough on this batch|
so I had to pick the little buggers out.