I never really liked cauliflower until I tried it roasted. Turns out that a little love from the oven goes a much longer way on my taste buds than dunking cauliflower in boiling water ever did. I should have known this, but thankfully, I figured it out eventually.
However, even if roasted cauliflower flavored with a little Dijon and some Parmesan had not done it for me, pureed cauliflower bowled me over as a delicious, happens-to-be-healthier alternative to mashed potatoes. At some restaurant awhile back, I remember raving on and on about how wonderful these mashed potatoes tasted, only to realize they were not potatoes but pureed cauliflower. Unlike potatoes, which need a fair amount of butter, cream, sour cream, or cheese to whip up into a creamy, mashed concoction, pureed cauliflower has a naturally creamy texture that sure fooled me. But I can’t say I was tremendously disappointed to find out that the cauliflower puree lacked all these unhealthy add-ins and, instead, was seasoned fairly lightly.
Both roasted cauliflower and cauliflower puree require minimal prep work, as you simply chop the head of cauliflower into florets, toss it with some seasonings, and let it sit in the oven for a bit. Once the florets are tender and lightly browned, you can serve them immediately, or blend them up with an immersion blender or food processor to create a thick puree. The pureed roasted cauliflower is not just an excellent substitute for mashed potatoes, as mentioned above, but can also be diluted with vegetable stock or water for a wonderfully creamy soup that goes exceedingly well with bacon-wrapped scallops.