If you’re reading up on the low-carb diets that are in vogue right now, you might find this piece of advice: replace carb-heavy foods with healthier ones; for instance, instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower! Technically, it’s true. But it sounds boring, right? Who’d ever choose cauliflower over mashed potatoes?
Try this super simple recipe and see if you’ll even care about dumb mashed potatoes ever again. This is a fluffy, creamy, rich, fragrant substance that plays ice cream to potato’s sponge cake, brandy to its lager, Mozart to its Salieri.
- 1 medium head cauliflower, ~24 oz
- 8 oz heavy cream
- 4 tbsp butter, sliced
- 1 tsp fumee de sel, plus more to taste
Wash the cauliflower and clean it by pulling off any green leaves around the base. Cut off enough stalk to be able to rest the head flat on the table and discard the tough stalk. Quarter the head, cutting through the stalk, and break up into 2-3” pieces along the florets. If any larger pieces of the stalk remain, cut them into smaller pieces.
Combine the cauliflower, the cream, and the butter in a large saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the cream begins to bubble—about 2 minutes— then turn down to low and cover tightly. After about 5 minutes, check occasionally: you’ll want to see steam under the lid and a bit of movement in the cream, but not much active bubbling. Fold gently once or twice to distribute the butter and flip the florets. Cook for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is bite-tender.
Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Season with the salt, then blend in a blender on the “smoothie” setting or similar until thickened and smooth, about 30-60 seconds total. Pause occasionally to scrape down the sides and the lid of the blender. Taste and add salt if needed. Return to a clean pan, cover, and keep warm until serving. It will also refrigerate and reheat well.
As always, you should cool down the mix before blending; you don’t want to blend hot liquids. It’s safe to do so right in the pan or bowl with an immersion blender, but this may not produce a perfectly even purée.
Feel free to use kosher salt instead of smoked; I like how the smoke plays with the floral smell of cauliflower, but it’s not crucial.
This pairs well with punchy red meats like steak or duck, and it loves deeply red wine.