JOY of Cooking: Pureed Cauliflower with Caramelized Shallots and Fried Sage

Megan Scott is the newest member of the JOY clan. After meeting John Becker in Asheville, North Carolina, she was warmly welcomed into the family and the happy couple was married on September 29, 2012. After graduating with a degree in French literature, Megan worked in a bakery where she honed her pastry skills and developed a passion for high-quality baked goods of all kinds. This experience with fast-paced industrial kitchen work inspired her to create her farmer's market baking business, The Little Blue Baking Company. Megan's work for JOY involves a little bit of everything. She is JOY's blogger-in-residence, she works with John on digital projects, newspaper articles, and food photography, and has spearheaded the Joy of Cooking's kitchen garden and flock of chickens. During her time off, she maintains a lively sourdough starter, sews, spins wool, and does yoga.

JOY_cauliflower_400I have created some dishes that I plan to serve at my own, personal Thanksgiving feast. I’ve tried to be original without creating an overdone Thanksgiving monster that no one will want to cook. Without further ado, I present my riff on traditional mashed potatoes. They’re almost as fun to cook as they are to eat.

Pureed Cauliflower with Caramelized Shallots and Fried Sage

Serves 6

Joy of Cooking

Joy of Cooking

by Irma S. Rombauer

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The fried sage is strictly optional/extra credit here. While it does add a huge flavor boost and a delicate crunch (not to mention the presentation value), this dish is still delicious without it. I have simply been trying to use as much fresh sage as possible before the frost kills my plants. This recipe appears very involved and time-consuming, but to be honest, if you make this, you will probably like it better than the turkey.
Begin by preparing the caramelized shallots. Melt in a large sauté pan over medium heat:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Add and stir to coat with the butter:
2 cups whole shallots, sliced very thin
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch brown sugar
When the shallots start to sizzle, turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir occasionally until the shallots begin to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add and stir until evaporated:
2 tablespoons port
Remove the shallots to a small bowl and set aside. In the same sauté pan (or a smaller one if you don’t mind doing dishes), melt over medium heat:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
The butter will start to foam. When the foam subsides, add and fry until crisp, about a minute (the leaves will be done when they turn a slightly darker shade of green):
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
Remove the sage leaves to a plate and reserve the sage-infused butter for another use.
Place in a medium saucepan:
1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
Pour into the saucepan:
1 cup chicken stock
Bring the stock to a simmer, and simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in the bowl of a food processor or in a large bowl. Pulse or mash the cauliflower until it resembles mashed potatoes. Pulse or stir in:
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Spoon the cauliflower into a serving dish, top with the shallots, and serve alongside the sage leaves.

Photo by Megan Scott

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