Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables right now. It’s incredible roasted, it makes a mean fried “rice”, and it is a great alternative to mash potatoes when you are looking for a solid base for a meat or a fish.
A cauliflower purée can add incredible versatility to a dish.
Be artistic and smear it across the plate and put your main meat and colourful vegetables on top, or plop it in the centre of the plate and build some height with the other components. Also be sure to plan ahead and think about colour and overall presentation when choosing what to pair your cauliflower purée with. Of course flavour compliments are important to consider too.
It should be noted that vegetable purées can be made with many different vegetables including parsnips, turnips, carrots, butternut squash and so on. They can be made pure and simple on their own, with butter and cream, or with some acid to really enhance the flavour (such as apple wine, apple cider vinegar, lemon or white wine vinegar).
Here is a recipe for a cauliflower purée that I made for my finale dinner at the end of my Master Culinary camp at NWCAV. I worked with the chefs over a period of three days to get the ingredients and consistency just right. For finale night I served it with pan seared trout, braised baby leek and carrots, and drizzled it with a simple brown butter vinaigrette.
More recently I made this for my Cooking Club girls and served it with seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms and bacon, and topped it with some crisp sunflower sprouts lightly spritzed with a lemon vinaigrette. It was a huge hit!
Check out some other main dish options that can be paired with a cauliflower purée.
Yield 2 cups
A cauliflower purée provides a great base for fish and meat, and is much lighter than traditional mash potatoes. Try this recipe with a variety of vegetables including carrots, parsnips or butternut squash.
- 1/2 head large cauliflower
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 c apple wine or vinegar (or enough to simmer)
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- 2 T butter
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Sauté the cauliflower with the shallots and garlic in oil.
- Add a splash of apple wine or vinegar and a pinch of salt and simmer until veggies are fork tender and vinegar reduced by half.
- Add cream and reduce by half again.
- Remove from heat, add butter, lemon and salt to taste.
- Cool the mixture completely and then purée in a blender, nutri bullet or hand mixer until smooth.
Note: this dish can be made ahead (2-3 days) and then reheated right before service.
Cuisine North American