Monday, August 20, 2012

of Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Mash

Glaring lack of updates aside (thanks to a busy schedule of vacations, baptisms, and family hilarity), cauliflower may be the weirdest vegetable that is regularly enjoyed by people. From its creamy off white color to its decidedly broccoli/butternut squash flavor its a study in contrasts. Many people claim to hate cauliflower but I think it's really the strangeness as a vegetable that they can't get over. I am someone who has never hated cauliflower...when I was a kid I would watch with anticipation as my mom prepared cauliflower Parmesan using our pressure cooker. It was a treat in those days because I am fairly certain at least one of my sisters or other collection of relatives had decided to not like cauliflower at the time. These days, since I am on my own I am free to indulge in eating more than my fair share of this underrated kitchen staple.

I absolutely adore cauliflower soup. Its creamy, comforting and fabulously homey for times when I need to be cheered a bit or escape some winter weather. My go to cauliflower though is almost always roasted as I am semi obsessed with roasting veggies. A few weeks ago I did a post on Jenny's Roast Potatoes, but that is really the tip of the iceberg. Everything from carrots to Brussels spouts have met their (eventual) doom after being in my oven. However, I have tried this recipe after boiling the cauliflower in chicken broth and the results were equally delicious.

I was recently dining out when I came across a particularly delicious Parmesan cauliflower gratin. I decided that I would probably like it even more if it used roasted cauliflower and used another one of my loves, goat cheese. The results I share with you today are an incredible compliment to any meal. And so without further ado lets get to it.

Today's Cast of Characters:

Incredibly wholesome today guys, we have very easy no preservatives kinds of food. A medium or large head of cauliflower will do you fabulously for the recipe. Additionally, some garlic, olive oil, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, and a bit of butter round out the dish. You can also add just a bit of milk or cream if you so desire. I don't usually include it because I find the mix creamy enough without it. Don't forget to salt and pepper the cauliflower before roasting. You can also use other spices if you are so inclined. I especially like to stir a pinch or two of fresh chopped basil in, although it sometimes turns them an interesting green color if I add more. Chives would work wonderfully here as well.

What to Do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While it is warming up, toss the chopped up cauliflower and minced garlic with a little bit of olive oil. If you would prefer a more roasted garlicesque flavor to your mash leave the cloves whole and toss with oil to coat.

Pour the mix onto a sheet pan and spread evenly on a single layer. We are going for a nice roasted cauliflower and overcrowding the pan will lead to a more steamed cauliflower taste. The flavor of roasted cauliflower is what makes this dish so special so try to get this part right. Sprinkle this mix with salt and pepper to taste. I use a bit less salt because Parmesan cheese is salty. You can also sprinkle on any roasting spice you choose. Sprigs of fresh thyme would be a delicious way to give this a more homey flavor. I would use red pepper flakes or paprika but feel free to experiment.

Place the cauliflower in the preheated oven and bake for about twenty five or thirty minutes. The cauliflower should be lightly browned on top and fork tender when pierced. Once you get to the desired doneness bring it out and let the pan cool for a bit because you don't want to melt bits of your plastic food processor.

In a food processor or blender, put the melted butter, cheeses, and cream if desired. Then spoon your cauliflower garlic mix on top and pulse until well mixed and creamy looking. The mix shouldn't have tons of large lumps but a few are ok I think. While I prefer mashed potatoes smooth with absolutely no lumps, I feel this mix tastes best with just a few.

Now is the choose your own adventure part. You could stir in your optional fresh herbs and serve it up in a big bowl at your table a la a bowl of mashed potatoes and that would be perfectly wonderful and delicious.


You could take this dish one step further and after mixing in your optional fresh herbs or not you could spoon the mix into individual ramekins and pop them back into the oven a la the original cauliflower gratin inspiration. If you choose to do this bake them for about ten to fifteen minutes at 400 degrees. I usually only bake them for around ten sometimes even less. The point is to have the top be a bit bubbly and starting to brown ever so slightly.

Either way you choose to serve these the result will be delectable. So remember to enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower Goat Cheese Mash


1 head of Cauliflower
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 to 3 cloves Garlic
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
5 tbsp Goat cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Any other Herb or Roasting Spice you want


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Toss the garlic and cauliflower in the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other roasting spice you choose. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned and cauliflower is fork tender. Cool slightly.
3. In a food processor, put in Parmesan, goat cheese, and butter. Pour in the cauliflower garlic mix and process until smooth and creamy. Stir in fresh herbs if so desired.
4. Remove mix to a large bowl to serve.
5. Transfer the mix to individual ramekins and place back in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove when mix edges are just starting to brown.
6. Either way you choose to serve this dish, enjoy!