Thursday, March 26, 2009

Whipped Cauliflower (with Roasted Garlic and Chives)

I wanted to post "Whipped Cauliflower... with Pleasure" but that just sounded too lewd.

But they were indeed very good, and ridiculously easy to make. Lon brought home two gigantic heads of cauliflower from the farmer's market last weekend, and I while I don't know the exact weight of each - for the purpose of the recipe - I would say each one was just slightly smaller than a volleyball.

They were easy and quick to make. Sorry I didn't take a pic. They looked like mashed, or whipped, potatoes. Because we didn't add any dairy, the result was a nice vegan side dish. 

The same can't be said for the rest of our menu, though. For our main we had chicken with a quick pesto. The sides included wilted rainbow chard (also from the farmer's market) and the cauliflower prepared as follows. 

Whipped Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic and Chives
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1/4 olive oil (remember, this is for two heads of cauliflower so you might want to add more)
1 lemon, zested, juice reserved
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Cut florets off main stalk of the cauliflower, and rinse off any grit or dirt. When water comes to a boil, drop the florets in and allow to cook until easily pierced by a fork - approximately 20 minutes. While you're waiting for the water to boil, though, wrap the cloves of garlic in foil and toss in your oven at 400. Or you can do them on top of the stove in a pan, as well. If you're heating the oven for cooking a main dish, I'd simply throw the garlic in the vault, that way you don't have to worry about constantly turning it if it's in a pan over a burner.

2. When the cauliflower is soft, turn off burner, drain into a colander and shake off any excess moisture. I was surprised by how much water they retained in those little branches, so be mindful of this. Take the garlic out of the oven and set aside so it can cool enough to touch.

3. Place the cauliflower, several florets at a time, in a large food processor and, working in batches, whip the florets so that they're reduced to the consistency of mashed potatoes. There might be a few lumps. With the food processor on pulse, drizzle in the olive oil. Add the juice of half of the lemon, add the zest, and taste. Continue blending and add the chives and garlic. Taste to see if it needs more olive oil, more lemon juice, or both. Adjust to your preference with salt and pepper.

NOTE: We found that the brightness of the lemon played off the inherent pithiness of the cauliflower so if you're a citrus fan don't hold back. It also kicked up the bite of chives nicely. The mellowness of the roasted garlic really rounded out the flavors. Serve immediately!

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