Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Faux-Tatoes and Holy Fennel Frond!

Roasted Mashed Cauliflower and Garlic with Fried Shallots
It's been a roasting kind of evening for me, and I wanted to share a couple new favorite side dishes of mine. Actually, it feels like all I have been doing is roasting vegetables for a few weeks now. I just can't seem to get enough of the sweet, caramelized goodness that comes out of roasting a vegetable. Any vegetable. Last week I was compulsively addicted to roasted garlic over hummus, and roasted broccoli with balsamic reduction. I'll toast to that!

So this week I wanted to broaden my plate with something new. And then it hit me. I've been wanting to make mashed cauliflower for some time now. Because I absolutely love mashed potatoes, but feel guilty eating too much of them, and I always want to eat more mashed potatoes than any person ever should consume. But I also wanted to roast some cauliflower. So I wondered how roasted cauliflower would taste as a faux mashed potatoes.

I hit the grocery store and came home with a creamy white globe of cauliflower, shallots, garlic, and two pretty fancy little fennels. I saw the fennel and immediately imagined it in a menage a trois, bubbling and sizzling in my beast of an oven, along side some garlic and cherry tomatoes.

And so I did just that. I roasted my pretty little fennel wedges along side some garlic, and cherry tomatoes. And then tossed some grated parmesan-reggiano on top....and holy fennel frond! Oh roasted fennel, where have you been all my life??? However, you certainly needed the acid of the tomatoes to balance the anise flavor....
Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes with Parmesan-Reggiano
Next, I moved on to the cauliflower. They got a nice coating of olive oil, salt and pepper, and in to the oven they went. Along side some garlic, shallot, and fresh sprigs of lemon thyme. I did not let the cauliflower get too brown as I wanted my faux-potatoes-cauliflower-mash to be a nice creamy white color, (as to trick myself into believing I was eating real mashed potatoes!). I then blended the cauliflower, garlic, and shallot, with some almond milk (unsweetened), and butter. And salt, always more salt! I fried up some shallots for a yummy garnish, and voila. My faux-tatoe-mashed-cauliflower has come to life. I absolutely love this dish. The combination of the sweet and nutty cauliflower with the sweet roasted garlic, and the slight crunch of the sweet fried shallots are utterly enticing and comforting. And since I have cauliflower and fennel on the brain, I was thinking about a cauliflower, fennel, and pear combo next....Sip!!
Oh, Fried Shallots!

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