I touched on cauliflower some time ago (see Miso Cauliflower & Walnut Tacos), and it's about time we returned to praise the virtues of this brassica babe.
New fact? Cauliflowers are actually a highly modified version of cabbage in the mustard family; hence that occasional hint of a mustard nip when raw. They also have some powerful health benefits: an impressive nutritional profile, high in fibre, and a good source of antioxidants and choline. Moreover, they're easy to add to a wide variety of meals, and the clincher is they taste dang good.
Cauliflower is great raw, no doubt. But something splendid happens when cauliflower is cooked; it can become sweet and caramelized when chopped and roasted, take on incredible flavours when rubbed in spice, or today, become a dream of creamy custard-like topping for a baked dish. Steamed cauliflower is whizzed up with rich nuts and flavourful nutritional yeast, then heaped atop a mess of sauteed greens, leeks, and tempeh, to be oven baked. Just happened to be what I had on hand, and also happened to be absolutely epic. I urge you to try it!
The Cauli Custard
1 large head of Cauliflower, chopped into florets, steamed for 10 min
1/2 cup Cashews, soaked overnight and then rinsed
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 clove Garlic
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
(1/3 cup Water, if needed)
The Veggie Filling (rough foundation, mix n' match with what you have/enjoy)
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil or Ghee
1 large Leek, sliced lengthwise in half, then chopped into half moons
1/2 head of Cabbage, sliced into thin strips
1 head Fennel, thinly sliced
1 bunch dark leafy greens - Silverbeet, Kale, Cavolo Nero etc, chopped
250 g Tempeh, steamed, then rough crumbled
1/2 cup Vegetable Stock
2 tablespoons White Wine or Mirin
4 tablespoons Fresh Dill, chopped
The How To:
Place cooled steamed cauliflower, soaked nuts, olive oil, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt in a blender, and then use that great piece of equipment just as it was meant to be used- blend away! Depending upon the strength of your blender, you may need to add small increments of water to really find the creamiest consistency. Scrape down the sides as you go, and if you have a tamper, use it. Once smooth as silk, set aside.
Heat oil in a large pan. Add leek and cook for 4 minutes, until softened. Add cabbage and fennel, cook for another few minutes. Then begin adding handfuls of greens, allowing them to wilt down slightly before adding more. Once the greens have all been incorporated add tempeh, then stock and wine or mirin. Add dill, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat your oven to 200•. In either a baking dish or, if your pan is a large enough, oven faring vessel, just use that- (I cooked my green filling in my large cast iron pan and simply baked it in there as well. Less dishes, less waste.) ...top the filling mixture with the cauliflower custard and smooth over with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the custard is lightly golden and there's the comforting signs of well-cooked pie bubbling around the edges. Enjoy a hearty, hot serving on a cold, dark night.
Created by Elena Keir of Naked Cakes and Wholefoods