I’m really glad that cauliflower has come back into my life in the past few years. As a child, I remember eating cauliflower frequently but there were only a few ways that it showed up in my dinner; on a veggie tray with dill dip, cut into tiny pieces mixed into a green salad or boiled alongside it’s more colorful bright green buddy, broccoli. I’m not trying to knock the simple 1980s ways my Mom served cauliflower — kudos to her for serving it to us in the first place. Actually I remember sort of liking cauliflower. But I don’t think I ever LOVED it and I suppose that’s why it took me nearly 20 years to start seeking it out at the grocery store. I can say that I have really come to love cauliflower now that I have learned how to cook it and get the best flavor possible. Typically I roasted it (see Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon, Oregano and Feta) because it’s an easy side to make when I need to spend my time on the main dish. Occasionally I’ll throw it into a curry or a stir fry. But as I have spent more time in the food world following different food bloggers, reading various cooking magazines, taking cooking classes etc., I’ve noticed that cauliflower is one heck of a versatile vegetable and is being used in incredibly creative ways (example: Cauliflower Pizza Crust?!). So the other day I was serving a simple lemon-dill grilled salmon which needed very little prep. This gave me the time I needed to experiment with mashed cauliflower, oddly something that had been on my mind for a few weeks (that’s slightly embarrassing to admit!). I had an idea of how I wanted to make it but as I searched online for some inspiration I came across one recipe which called for adding roasted garlic. Perfect! That was the bonus flavor I was looking for. The rest of the recipe was pretty much exactly how I had planned to make it (much like I’d make classic mashed potatoes). Although to complement our grilled salmon (and because I love lemon on absolutely anything), I added lemon juice and zest to the cauliflower mash. Don’t expect this to taste like potatoes — it doesn’t. It tastes like roasted garlic and lemon cauliflower with a new texture but it was quite good and as often happens, my husband (who looked at me questionably when I told him what I was making) admitted that he really liked it. And he had seconds! Serve this dish as a bed under some grilled shrimp or salmon. Delicious and guilt-free!
1 bulb of garlic
2 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 head of cauliflower
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sub light sour cream)
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions or fresh chives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Zest entire lemon into a small bowl. Cut lemon in half and set aside. Slice off the top of the garlic bulb and drizzle top with 1/2 tsp olive oil. Wrap bulb in foil. Chop cauliflower into florets. Spread out on baking sheet in an even layer and drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of one lemon; toss to coat. Set garlic bulb on the sheet with the cauliflower. Roast for about 35 minutes, stirring cauliflower about half way through cooking. Allow cauliflower and garlic to cool slightly (5-10 minutes).
In a food processor (may have to do it in batches if you have small processor), combine roasted garlic (you should easily be able to squeeze the softened garlic out of the bulb), cauliflower, milk, yogurt, melted butter, juice of other 1/2 of the lemon, salt and pepper until smooth and mashed-potato like. DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC MIXER, YOU WILL NOT GET THE SAME RESULT! Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Fold in lemon zest and green onions or chives. Serve immediately with grilled salmon or sauteed shrimp.
*If making ahead of time, you can reheat it in a soup pan on the stove over low heat. Serving this dish hot is the key!
Recipe Adapted from Hummusapian