Mashed or pureed cauliflower is rather in vogue right now. But as one of my favorite cookbook authors Lee Bailey wrote in “Good Parties”, published back in 1986, “Unfortunately, foods run in fads like everything else these days….now, I’m afraid, it is time for purees to be heading for rough sledding. They were so popular right after food processors…Be that as it may, purees are a marvelous aid to entertaining…” Bailey then goes on to give numerous puree recipes in a chapter solely devoted to vegetable purees.
Perhaps purees lost their popularity for a while after Bailey wrote that in 1986, but they seem to be back these days, at least for a while. Recently, I mentioned George Stella’s book “The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook” in which he includes his recipe “Mock Mashed Potatoes.” Stella writes, “Cauliflower puree is everywhere right now, even served alongside entrees in restaurants that aren’t catering to the low-carb crowd.”
I feel bad for those who are missing out on mashed or pureed cauliflower, whether this dish is in vogue or not. Mashed or pureed cauliflower (1) is fast and easy to prepare, assuming that you have a food processor and microwave, (2) tastes wonderful on its own, (3) is a great backdrop for meats, fish, roasted veggies, eggs and pretty much any savory food you can think of (4) is naturally low in carbs; and (5) as Bailey points out, can be made way ahead of time for guests and entertaining, and “the flavor and texture are none the worse for the wait”; and (6) reheats nicely in the microwave the next day for leftovers , but is also great just warmed up to room temperature.
The photos here are of a medium head of cauliflower that I cut up and steamed, covered, in the microwave on high until very soft. You can also roast the cauliflower pieces in the oven for about an hour. I then pureed the cooked cauliflower with a bit of light cream cheese and unsalted butter. Recently, I pureed a whole head of cooked cauliflower with just a tablespoon each of butter and heavy cream, and that was delicious too. I do think mashed or pureed cauliflower needs at least a little fat, but that’s okay in my book, since the carbs will be so low.
Here, I’ve sprinkled some sharp cheddar cheese atop, but you can jazz it up with bacon, green onions, etc., just like you would with mashed potatoes.
And for the next day, I brought this mashed or pureed cauliflower to room temperature, and served it topped with sardines and these wonderful hot and sweet cherry peppers from Trader Joes. Use your imagination…roasted meats and chicken, broiled fish, or bacon and fried eggs are all wonderful atop mashed and pureed cauliflower.
Yes, mashed or pureed cauliflower is in vogue, and that’s fine by me! As Madonna sang in her “Vogue” released in 1990, “Oooh, you’ve got to just Let your body go with the flow Oooh, you’ve got to Vogue.” Thank you Lee Baily and Madonna—I’m now feeling quite stylish as I make and eat my mashed and pureed cauliflower.