Let’s say you’ve resolved to eat healthier in the New Year, but find yourself tripped up over and over again by your unconquerable yen for food that’s rich and delicious. And let’s also say that one of your favorite dishes is mashed potatoes.
There are no potatoes in this recipe, but by the time your family has polished off a serving, every one of them will be swearing that these are the smoothest, tastiest mashed potatoes they’ve ever eaten.
But this dish is a 100 percent cauliflower puree with a tiny tad of butter and some salt thrown in. That’s right — only three ingredients. Four, if you count the water.
And it’s very simple to make. Cut a head of cauliflower into pieces. Combine the pieces with salt and butter, then put it all in a large skillet and pour in enough water to nearly cover the contents.
Bring the water to a boil, throw on a lid and let it steam for 10 minutes or just until the cauliflower becomes tender.
Now for the hardest part. You’re going to boil and reduce the steaming water as a way to concentrate its flavor — a step that requires you to wait patiently. Afterward, you can resume charging ahead, pureeing the reduced liquid and cooked cauliflower in a blender until silky smooth.
That’s it. Not only is this puree tasty, smooth and light, it’s also the perfect vehicle for any sauce … just like mashed potatoes.
By Sara Moulton
- 1 small head cauliflower (about 2-1/4 pounds), core removed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- Chopped chives, for garnish
In a large skillet combine cauliflower with salt and 1-1/2 tablespoons of the butter cut into small chunks. Add enough water to reach just below the top of the cauliflower pieces, cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.
Transfer cauliflower with a slotted spoon to a bowl and bring liquid remaining in pan back to a boil. Boil until liquid is reduced to about 1/3-1/2 of a cup.
Working in 2 batches, transfer half the cooked cauliflower to a blender and add half the reduced liquid. Puree until smooth, scraping down sides several times as necessary.
(Note: The puree can be made ahead and heated in a double boiler or the microwave.)
Transfer the mixture to skillet. Repeat procedure with remaining cauliflower and liquid, then heat puree in skillet, stirring, just until hot.
Taste and add more salt, if needed. Serve, topping each portion with a tiny slice of the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons butter and a sprinkling of chives. Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 94 calories, 6 g total fat, 4 g saturated fats, 15 mg cholesterol, 212 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 4 g protein.