Gluten-free Purple Cauliflower Mash with Pesto?
All too often, especially when working in a restaurant, there is a huge amount of food waste. When preparing meals at home, spoilage often tends to occur... that being said, any type of recipe that uses the entire fruit/vegetable, I'm definitely a fan.
When preparing cauliflower, one generally discards the leaves. With this recipe, save the leaves - as they will be transformed into the light pesto.
1 Cauliflower head (purple)
Pine nuts - about 1/8 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves - smashed
Smoked Sea Salt - 2 tsp
Juice of 2 lemons
Cayenne pepper - 1 pinch
Cajun Seasoning - 1 Tbsp
Cilantro - 1 Bunch
Dried Oregano - 1 Tbsp
First, cut away the green leaves and wash thoroughly. Be sure to dry completely, then finely chop with a knife. In a Vitamix, combine all green leaves of cauliflower, pinch of cayenne, juice of 1 lemon, pine nuts and 1 tsp smoked sea salt. Finely chop all ingredients, then slowly drizzle olive oil while blending... about 1 Tbsp. Consistency should be smooth with a hint of crunchy texture.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For the cauliflower, chop the purple cauliflower into florets and place in a medium bowl. Coat with juice of 1 lemon, EVOO, garlic, 1 tsp smoked sea salt, cajun seasoning and dried oregano. Toss together, then place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the cauliflower is tender... easy to cut with a knife (about 20- 30 minutes to roast). Once cooked to a tender-state, place in Vitamix with cilantro leaves and pulse until pureed (leave it slightly crunchy to play with the texture).
Why do I enjoy this dish?
First of all, I love the vibrant color. The purple cauliflower will retain its regal purple color, despite being roasted. Purple cauliflower's color is due to the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is also found in red cabbage and red wine. There is a slightly different taste than the more familiar white cauliflower... in that, purple cauliflower has a touch more of a nutty flavor (brilliant when making a pesto).
When serving, mix the pesto into the purple cauliflower mash. How much? I would recommend 1 cup cauliflower mash to about 1/4 cup pesto. More or less, to your own liking. You may also serve the cauliflower mash with the pesto on the side.
Perfectly yolked with fish. Why? All too often, fish is paired with pasta or risotto. I am not a huge fan of the pasta/risotto and fish pairing simply because the texture is too similar... I prefer more of a textured crunch with fish. Ergo, a crunchy main-side gives more of a texture to flaky fish. I prefer purple cauliflower mash with salmon and red wine (Pino Noir or Syrah, even a robust Cab)... dynamic food/wine pairing.
"Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing" - Ernest Hemingway
Love y'all dearly