YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Cauliflower Polenta with Mushrooms

My dad says that you shouldn’t eat anything white except cauliflower. Plus, he loves cauliflower. It may seem a little drastic, but it’s definitely a reasonable strategy for eating more vegetables and less stripped carb. Plus there is so much you can do with cauliflower.

It’s interesting to see how people are preparing cauliflower so much more creatively in recent years. I grew up eating cauliflower in only two ways: either steamed plain, or cut into florets and added to a big stir-fry. But there continue to be more and more wonderful cauliflower dishes, and each is a magical celebration of flavor, texture, and yum! Here’s Mark Bittman’s latest, from How to Cook Everything Fast.

  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 c. stock (chicken or vegetable), water, or white wine
  • 12 oz. mushrooms (button, cremini or shiitake)
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large shallot
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) Parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. Slice mushrooms (discard shiitake stems) and add to skillet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, raise heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. The pot must be big enough to allow some space between the mushrooms. To allow their umami flavors to develop, don’t let them steam each other too much.

Meanwhile, break apart the cauliflower into small florets. Heat your liquid of choice in a saucepan over high heat. Add cauliflower, lower heat to medium, and cook until quite tender, at least 10 minutes.

Peel and chop shallot. Add to mushrooms along with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Stir for just 1 minute and remove from heat.

Process cauliflower in food processor in batches, adding 2 Tbsp. cooking liquid to each batch, until as smooth as polenta. Transfer to large bowl, and stir in 2 Tbsp. each butter and sour cream.

Strip rosemary leaves and chop finely. Grate Parmesan. Add these, plus the remaining 1 Tbsp. butter, to bowl and stir to combine. Spoon into bowls and top with mushrooms. Serves 4.

 

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