Monday, December 6, 2010

The First of Many Cauliflowers

I am a late cauliflower bloomer. Hmm, does that make sense? Anyway, my mom was never a cauliflower fan. She really didn't enjoy the way that caulflower was most often prepared. Over time we have introduced her to a cauliflower recipe or two that she really loves. This one is definitely not it, and I wouldn't even suggest it. I will be posting some of my other favorite recipes soon, but I just happened to make this one, so it comes first. It is not my first favorite.
I don't mean that it isn't good. It's actually really delicious. But it's a simple combination of flavors: cauliflower, cheese, and nutmeg. It's a perfect simple side dish for some dressed-up protein. In this case, we ate this with chicken marsala. Simple and delicious... works for me!

The original recipe calls for boiling the cauliflower in stock. I have done this and steamed it instead. Both were great, and there honestly wasn't much difference. Believe it or not, I'm actually horrible at reducing liquids, so I sort of like steaming the cauliflower better. I will post it that way here, but follow the original link if you'd rather boil it in stock.
Smashed Cauliflower
adapted from Rachel Ray via Food Network

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp. butter, cut into cubes
1 - 1 1/4 c. shredded white cheddar cheese
1/4 c. parmesan
1/4 - 1/2 c. milk
ground black pepper (or peppercorn medley) & salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Steam the cauliflower until soft, about 10 minutes, depending on the size of your florets. When soft, transfer to a medium-size pot over medium-low heat. Add in the butter, cheese, and milk. You want enough liquid to create a cheesy sauce for the cauliflower, but not so much that it will be too soupy to eat. Using a masher, break up the cauliflower until it is the consistency of a chunky puree (what?). The cheese should melt. Add in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste. If the sauce is too thin, turn the heat up slightly and cook until thickened, stirring regularly.

If you are a cheese fan, you will be a fan of this!

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