Finally, after much experimentation, I have achieved the perfect consistency and flavor for my mashed cauliflower. Side benefit: it’s vegan (although you could add a bit of butter if you wanted when you’re blending it). I wanted it to be flavorful and have the same consistency as fluffy mashed potatoes.
In the past when I’ve tried to make this, I used fresh cauliflower, which somehow didn’t soften up well enough, and I got something less than cohesive and almost grainy. The frozen cauliflower, added directly from the freezer releases liquid as it roasts, helping to soften it while still allowing the cauliflower to take on a nutty, roasted flavor. It’s also a lifesaver because this can be done on the fly if you have cauliflower in your freezer, as I always do.
I also added an onion to the pan because previous attempts to make mashed cauliflower didn’t end up having much flavor. Once roasted, of course, you don’t want the cauliflower to have too much liquid in it because it will be too watery/soupy when blended. Somehow I got the right ratio of everything this time, and the texture was just like the mashed potatoes I wanted to emulate.
The downside is… I couldn’t get a good photo (as if I ever do). I mean how can mushy, mashed-up, grey cauliflower ever look good? And when, frankly, I am a terrible photographer and the lighting in my house is bad (especially at 4 a.m. when I made this)? Try not to let the dull look of this dish as I prepared and photographed it put you off. I assure you, as much as this looks like slop (as many of my best-tasting meals do), this is amazing.
1 package (600 grams) frozen cauliflower florets
one small or medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper to taste, if desired
In a medium-sized roasting pan (or a medium cast iron skillet, which is what I did), add the oil, chopped onion and cauliflower. Roast in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes, add a pinch of salt, stir, and return to the oven for maybe another 20 minutes at 180C. It’s ready when the cauliflower is completely roasted and soft/mashable.
Mash up the bigger pieces of cauliflower and add salt, pepper and cayenne before transferring to a bowl. Use a hand/stick blender to mix blend to a mashed potato consistency.
Taste to make sure you like the seasoning (and season to your taste).