Around here, we don’t mess with Nacho Man’s spuds.
He likes them creamy and plentiful. And he especially likes that they’re potatoes.
But if you’re wondering what happened when I secretly replaced half his mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower, the answer is…
He liked them. He said they were “Fine.”
That’s a compliment. It really is.
You see, Nacho Man has four phrases that he applies to any situation that requires him to give a response. Ask him a question, any question, and I can guarantee that three-fourths of the time he’ll say, “Fine,” “Pretty good,” “Not bad,” and “Alright.”
The other one-fourth of the time he doesn’t answer because he’s distracted and you have to repeat the question.
Now maybe I’m paranoid, but I don’t take “Not bad” and “Alright” at face value. Translation: “Bad” and “Meh.”
But “Fine” and “Pretty good” are green lights. So let’s proceed.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Take one good-sized head of cauliflower, cut the florets into large chunks, rinse and pat dry. Set them on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the cauliflower is fork tender and browned, about 25 or 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, rinse, and dice 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 7-10 minutes. Drain and mash.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add 1/2-1 cup of milk and reduce heat to medium-low.
The best way to break up cauliflower is to spread rumors that you saw it cavorting with the beets in the crisper. If that doesn’t work, I like to use a food processor to pulse the cauliflower until it resembles very fine crumbs. An immersion blender works (just put the cauliflower into a deep bowl) but it doesn’t pulverize the cauliflower quite as well. If you need to, add a bit of liquid (potato water, milk, chicken stock, etc.) 1 teaspoon at a time to the cauliflower to help break it down.
My favorite way to mash potatoes is the push them through a fine mesh sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Use whatever method works for you, and combine the cauliflower and potatoes in a large bowl. Add the heated butter and milk mixture in small increments until you have a consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper.
This makes a lot. They’re great as leftovers. I also like to fry small patties in a little olive oil as a breakfast treat.
Roasted, Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes
serves 4-6 with leftovers
1 medium-large head of cauliflower, washed and cut
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tablespoon butter (or more, if you like)
1/2-1 cup of milk
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss cauliflower pieces in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then transfer to pan and bake until tops are nicely browned, about 25 – 30 minutes.
2. Peel and cut potatoes, and boil until fork tender (about 7-10 minutes on my stove). Drain.
3. Melt butter in small saucepan, add milk and warm on medium-low heat.
4. Puree cauliflower in food processor until they resemble a very fine crumb, and no large pieces remain. If needed, add liquid such as potato water, chicken stock, or milk, 1 teaspoon at a time to make the cauliflower smooth. Mash potatoes. (My favorite way to do this is by using a wooden spoon to push the potato through a fine sieve.)
5. Combine cauliflower and potatoes in a bowl. Add butter/milk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir gently until the consistency makes you happy. Season with salt and pepper.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Faux-Tatoes: roast a head of garlic, top cut off, with the cauliflower. Remove the garlic from the cloves add to the food processor.