Cauliflower shares must be skyrocketing as restaurants and supermarkets struggle to cater for banting dieters. But given its sudden ubiquity, we’re growing ever so slightly tired of cauli mash – even though it’s delicious, especially when loaded with butter and sage.
We asked private chef and founder of the One Ingredient dinners Matt Manning to dream up five other ways to use the trendy brassica.
Matt has some experience, after all, coming up with new ideas using only one staple: his One Ingredient pop-up dinners and cooking classes involve a four-course meal with all dishes created from one star ingredient. The dinners are also an opportunity to learn to cook like a star yourself – after Matt’s demonstrated the dish, you have a chance to recreate it in a cooking class.
Here are five of Matt’s ideas, ranging from the super simple to professional chef-level dishes involving foam guns and ice-water baths.
This is a simple way to treat cauliflower, which results in a creamy, savoury soup that’s unbelievably comforting.
1 sprig of thyme
2 garlic cloves
2 heads of cauliflower
100g freshly grated parmesan
500ml vegetable stock
20ml olive oil
200g of butter
In a large pot, sweat the onion, thyme and crushed garlic in olive oil until soft. Add finely chopped florets of cauliflower and the butter and season with salt. Add your stock and cook on a high heat until the stock has reduced by half. Now add the milk, cream and parmesan and bring to the boil. Blitz the mixture in your food processor until it’s smooth and pour it through a fine sieve before checking the seasoning. Serve immediately.
Serve this curried cauliflower as a side dish with chicken curry or with chickpeas, brown rice and some fried halloumi – if you’re not following Tim Noakes’s advice!
1 cauliflower head, chopped into medium-sized florets
1 teaspoon curry powder
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the cauliflower. After one minute, remove from the boiling water and refresh in ice. Once the cauliflower is cooled, remove from the ice water, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and curry powder.
Take a cast-iron grill pan and place on a high heat. Once the pan is smoking hot, place the florets of cauliflower onto the griddle. Once the cauliflower has bar markings, remove from the griddle and serve.
Serve this pickle in burgers, with corned beef sandwiches or with a hearty curry.
100ml white vine vinegar
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig of thyme
1 head of cauliflower
Add the vinegar, sugar, water, mustard seeds and sprig of thyme into a pot and bring to the boil. Cut one head of cauliflower into small florets and add into the pot of pickling liquid. Cover with a lid and remove from the heat.
This smooth, creamy purée goes beautifully with a nice cut of meat – think springbok or aged steak. Alternatively, pull out all the stops and serve with the white chocolate as Matt suggests.
2 heads of cauliflower
1 finely sliced onion
2 crushed cloves of garlic
Sprig of thyme
100 ml vegetable stock
200 ml cream
20g white chocolate
1 tablespoon truffle oil
Take two heads of cauliflower, remove the florets from the stem and finely chop. Sweat the onion and garlic together with the thyme in a medium-sized pot. Once the onion is soft, add 50g of butter and the cauliflower. Season with salt and add the vegetable stock. Cover with a lid and let the cauliflower cook quickly over high heat.
Once the cauliflower has softened, remove the lid and add the cream. Let the cream reduce by half before adding everything to the food processor to blend until smooth. Once smooth, remove from the blender, pass through a fine sieve and divide between two bowls. Add the parmesan and truffle oil to one bowl and emulsify while still hot. Add the white chocolate to the other bowl and emulsify. Serve warm.
Feeling brave? Take your purée up a notch and transform it into foam.
For the foam, cool down the parmesan and truffle mixture from above, pour into a foam gun and insert one gas charge. This aerates the mixture and makes it nice and light. Serve the cauliflower and white chocolate purée warm.