Is there a comfort food more universally loved than mashed potatoes? A classic side for everything from meatloaf to fried chicken to Salisbury steak to Thanksgiving turkey, chances are, if you’re American, this was a regular on your dinner table growing up.
If you’re cutting back on carbs, though, you’ve got to either cut it out or restrict your serving to a tiny amount.
Cauliflower saves the day! I call it “cauli mash” for short. If you’re served this in a fancy-schmancy restaurant, they may call it “cauliflower puree.” Call it what you will, it’s yummy, and a great foil for a number of different dishes.
Besides the traditional ways to serve this dish, I love it under pan-seared salmon, shown in the main pic above. (Have you seen my video on how to make perfectly-done pan-seared salmon? It’s so much easier than it sounds!)
It’s also scrumptious as a side dish for pork chops.
And delicious under pulled pork or carnitas, topped with some cheese, sour cream, and/or guacamole.
The secret to getting a great texture in your cauli mash is four-fold: it must be cooked till soft, well-drained, mixed with a stick blender (unless you want it chunky), and have lots of added fat! It takes a few steps, but it’s not hard. Plus, this is a versatile side or base that goes with lots of things, and it keeps well in the fridge, so I always make enough for at least a couple meals. The 24-oz. bag is plenty to make at least six servings.
Here’s my method…
Mashed cauliflower / cauliflower puree recipe
24 oz. of cauliflower florets
(you can include stem pieces, cut to much smaller than the florets)
1/4 cup butter or ghee*
1/4 cup sour cream (or non-dairy substitute)*
2 T. bacon fat*
2 T. cheese, your choice of cheddar or cream cheese (optional)*
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine salt (if using coarse salt, double the amount)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/16 teaspoon dill (optional)
*See step 5, regarding the fats. It’s completely okay to adjust these to your liking.
- Cut the florets to somewhat-equal sized pieces, and steam them over simmering water until they can be easily sliced through with a plastic utensil, such as a spoon or spatula. I do a 24-oz. package in three batches. This ensures they steam more evenly, and helps with the next step.
- Drain them, press them, then dry them some more. I use the steamer section of my pan as a colander, holding it over the sink with the cooked cauli in it, gently pressing down with a large mixing spoon to force more water out. Don’t press too hard, or it will begin to mash and drip out the bottom.
- (Sometimes I skip this step; no big deal.) Then I put that batch in the mixing bowl and kind of spread it out, so more steam can escape. (I use the small mixing bowl from my mom’s vintage Sunbeam Mixmaster. Did your mom or grandma have one of these?) A little bit before I’m ready to dump the next batch of cooked florets into the bowl, I reach in with a sturdy paper towel over my hand and give the steamed-out cauli a squeeze or two.
- Repeat till all the cauli is cooked and drained.
- Add the fat! You can tweak the amounts if you want less of one and more of the other, to adjust to your taste or dietary requirements.
- Blend well using a stick blender. Start at the top and press down while blending, then release the button and repeat again till it’s all starting to look the same. Then you can add your seasonings and blend everything together well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Serve immediately, or store in a tightly-closed container in the fridge for several days. Reheats well in the microwave.