I am always looking for new and delicious ways to use cauliflower, and this rich and crunchy cauliflower side is my new favorite. It’s perfect for summer BBQ, steak, fish, lamb, chicken, you name it. Moreover, it is very easy to make, and it’s a great alternative to potatoes if you want to skip the starch.
If you like, you can easily skip the Pecorino or Parmesan, or experiment either with other cheeses, a bit of grated zucchini or a bit of lemon. Or, if pistachios are not your favorite, almonds work very well as a substitute. As I make this side quite often, I like to mix it up a bit, and sometimes I even make different varieties if I’m making a larger batch. Try and see what is your favorite version.
Cauliflower cream with roasted cauliflower and pistachio topping (serves 4 as a side)
1 whole medium-large sized cauliflower
100 ml full cream (35-38% fat)
3 tbsp grated Pecorino or Parmesan
3 tbsp butter
1 handful pistachio kernels (you can use either salted or unsalted but if you use the latter use a little extra salt on top)
Salt and pepper
1. Start by preheating the oven to 550 F (300 C). Then fill a large pot with water and a bit of salt and put on the stove to boil.
2. Wash the cauliflower well, and divide it into two halves. Break up the one half into small florets. Then once the water in the pot is boiling, pour the florets in, and let boil for about 10-12 minutes.
3. With a sharp knife, slice up the other half of the cauliflower into thin slices that look like small cauliflower trees about 1/4 inch (½ cm) thick. Place these on a parchment clad baking tray and drizzle or spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the tray in the oven once it is warm and let the cauliflower slices roast until slightly brown. This will usually take about 10-15 minutes depending on your oven. Make sure to check on them along the way to ensure they don’t blacken.
4. While half of the cauliflower is roasting in the oven, pour the boiled part of the cauliflower into a colander and let it drip. Then put it back into the pot along with the cream, grated Pecorino or Parmesan and butter. Now mash it using a fork, spoon or handheld blender, whatever is more convenient. Mash until you have a smooth cauliflower cream and then season well with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the cauliflower cream into small cocottes, and when the roasted cauliflower is done, place the slices on top of the cream. Now turn down the oven to 350 F (175 C).
6. Chop the pistachios and drizzle them on top of the cauliflower cream and roasted cauliflower. Finally, put the cocottes in the oven to bake for about 10-15 minutes and then serve straight away.
If you’re making lamb, try this rich and crunchy cauliflower side with this amazing slow-roasted leg of lamb: