Roasted Cauliflower Pureé – an Update for a Favorite Holiday Veggie
Cauliflower Cheese Gratin, a favorite dish of my father’s, was a staple on my family’s holiday table. Dad learned to make it while he was a student in dental school, and year after year, it was his task alone to prepare it. Unfortunately, after his death, my brother tried once to replicate it, and fell somewhat short of Dad’s version. Poor Al, he never tried again after that.
Dad’s cauliflower dish was full of eggs, cream (well, really evaporated milk, as he was a dyed in the wool New Orleanian) and cheese. We still love cauliflower, though, and include it at our holiday meals, and not that we wouldn’t enjoy my father’s cauliflower dish again, but cuisines evolve, tastes change, and over the years we got used to eater somewhat lighter – the gratin is a little rich for most of us today. Also over time, roasted vegetables, including cauliflower, became a trend we heartily embraced.
Cauliflower, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and simply roasted, is definitely yummy, and I’ll admit it, I sometimes find it difficult not to eat those roasted flowerettes right from the oven when prepping this dish. But I was inspired a few years back, (by Susan Spicer’s dish, Cauliflower in Brown Butter) to take the roasting a step further by pureeing the roasted cauliflower with brown butter – another trend that’s become very hot in the culinary world. And because, as I mentioned in my last post, I’m very into cardamon nowadays, I spiced the dish up a bit. Et voilá – a new holiday classic has been born.
Roasted Cauliflower Pureé
I large head of cauliflower, broken into flowerettes
1 large garlic clove, smashed
Extra virgin olive oil, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup, enough to coat the flowerettes
@ 2-3 tablespoons water
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
2- 3 ounces of butter, unsalted
1/4 teaspoon cardamon, or more to taste
- In a large bowl mix the cauliflower, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated.
- Pour it all onto a baking sheet, and add the water. Cover the baking sheet tightly with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 15- 20 minutes, until the flowerettes just begin to get tender, then uncover them and cook another 15- 20 minutes, until they begin to caramelize.
- Brown the butter in a small saucepan until it gets foamy and brown (bits of the milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pot and brown), and begins to smell nutty.
- Pureé the cauliflower and garlic in a food processor with the brown butter and cardamon until smooth. Add more salt, pepper and cardamon to taste.
Yield: @ 4-6 servings
I know they look great at this point- but don’t scarf them all up yet. Keep going!