Monday, September 13, 2010
A case for the cauliflower
The cauliflower is not a favourite vegetable among most of my friends. Except perhaps when it is coated in a spicy chilli-flavoured batter and deep-fried. Anything deep-fried is nice, after all. But on the rare occasion when there is a when there is a cauliflower on the table, I find myself the only one excited. What's not to love? Crunchy or soft, the cauliflower is truly adaptable. Honest. It's wonderful in a curry/masala as it absorbs the flavours well. As mentioned above, its delicious when deep-fried (after dousing it in boiling water to soften it a little). It's nice au Gratin too. I even like it steamed (with broccoli and corn) and seasoned with just salt and pepper. But what I really like is mashed-roasted cauliflower! It's way better (and healthier) than mashed potatoes - yes, even better than the Colonel's mash.
I decided to test out my theory (that mashed cauliflower beats mashed potato) on some cauliflower hating friends. I didn't reveal the main ingredient of the dish as, all mashed up, it kinda looked like potatoes anyway.
Here's what I did. First, I steamed the cauliflower till it was nice and soft -- about 20 mins. Then, I mashed it with a fork. Easy.
Preheated my oven to 180C.
Next, in a small pan I melted some butter and sautéed some garlic, minced fine. I added the mashed cauliflower and added about 1/4 cup milk (or cream if you prefer). I let the mixture simmer (low heat) till there was no more liquid and then I added about 1/2 cup cheddar.
I then seasoned it with salt and pepper. As the cheddar was pretty strong, I didn't need that much salt.
After about 2-3 minutes, I transferred the mash into a bake-safe dish, sprinkled some cheese on top and let it bake in the oven for about 10-15 mins or till the top began to get golden.
Remove, scoop out, garnish with coriander and serve.
OK, the results. My unsuspecting dinner guests loved the mash but they also kinda guessed it wasn't mashed potatoes. They were not able to guess what it was though. the nuttiness of the boiled and then roasted cauliflower kinda made them think they were eating mashed beans -- they weren't too thrilled at this thought. When I revealed what it was, there was silence. No, they didn't become cauliflower converts but admitted that they wouldn't mind seconds of my mash.
I'd call it a success. After all, they ate so much I had to chance to help myself to seconds! Backfired? Perhaps!