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

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

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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