Don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost the plot. I know this is a perfectly ordinary cauliflower sitting here and I know I might be cheating ever-so-slightly by giving you a recipe for essentially taking it and turning it into mush. But it is nevertheless a staple in this tiny kitchen, and it’s hard to get right, so here goes.
1 large head of cauliflower
Cut the cauliflower into pieces. One of the best things about this is that since the cauliflower is going to be mashed, you don’t need to waste time agonising over cutting the thing into florets of the same size so they’ll cook at the same speed (does anyone else do that, or is it just me?).
Boil the cauliflower in a large saucepan. Normally, you’d try to take cauliflower to a stage of perfect toothsomeness, just the same way you’re searching for al dente pasta. For mash, you want to take it beyond that point, to where a fork can split the floret with a touch.
Drain the cauliflower and return it to the saucepan. Roll up your sleeves, grab the potato masher, and work through the frustrations of the day.
If you were to serve it now, it would be tasty, but wet and sloppy. Since I often use this as a substitute for potato, I prefer a lighter, fluffier mash. What you want to do is remove the liquid that has come out of the cauliflower, and the best way to do this is by evaporation. Draining, sadly, won’t cut it.
Once you’ve mashed the cauliflower, return it to the stove and place over a low heat. You need to leave it steaming gently over the stove for a good ten minutes. You don’t really need to worry about looking after it – cauliflower shouldn’t burn or stick to the pan – but give it a stir every now and then to check how much liquid is left. The end result should be light and fluffy, ready for use as a delicious alternative to mashed potato.
*If you’re looking for a variation that holds together better and has the consistency of mash, try this gourmet cauliflower mash.