Food on Friday: Cauliflower puree to please (almost) anyone

Cauliflower puree makes a perfect base for a piece of grilled fish or meat.

By Julia Westhoff

The mister and I are sometimes lucky enough to score an invite to a meal cooked by the amazing Jeff Akin (one of the geniuses behind The food is always outstanding, and I always leave with new ideas for the kitchen. We’ve been friends with Chef Jeff for a long time now (Jay and him go back to grade school), so we’ve had lots of opportunities to be wowed by his culinary abilities. Still, this last time, Jeff may have outdone himself. Salmon sashimi, wild mushroom tartine, sweet potato pave, lemon-lavender buerre blanc – just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Unfortunately, I’ll probably never cook an oxtail, or compose 80 layers of potatoes and cream. I did, however, think I could tackle the creamy and fresh puree of cauliflower. It was amazingly easy and incredibly good (just as good as Jeff’s!) – I don’t think I’ll ever go back to peeling potatoes. I served it with seared salmon and bok choy, and was quite pleased with myself.

So who wasn’t a fan of this amazing dish? That would be our lovely first born. I had forgotten that Olivia (who will eat sushi and stinky cheese without batting an eye) detests cauliflower. After one big spoonful, perfectly good linens were ruined and tantrums were thrown. But truth be told, I didn’t mind one bit – more cauliflower for me!

Cauliflower Purée

1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/3 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon butter

Simmer cauliflower, garlic, broth, and salt in a small saucepan, covered, until cauliflower is very tender, 10 – 20 minutes (watch out it doesn’t burn after the liquid dissolves). Purée mixture with cream and butter in a food processor until smooth, or mash with a potato masher or a fork.