Creamy Cauliflower Puree with Fenugreek
So it’s the middle of summer. I know a bathing suit looms in the near future, and despite all attempts I’ve let things like pork buns, sausage orecchiette, a hot dog on the run, and delicious pastries from Duane Park Patisserie interrupt an otherwise (mildly) healthy flow of food. Let’s not even bring up the subject of wine.
My fridge is loaded with fruits and veggies, sending subliminal messages of health across my apartment. I was seriously in the throes of a carb-craving the other day, and with nothing other than fruits and veggies decided to get a little creative. The result? A lusciously, creamy cauliflower puree flecked with crushed fenugreek leaves.
Okay, so in reality, this still has butter and some milk, but it’s definitely better for you than equally buttery mashed potatoes. The cauliflower, cooked until super tender, is fresh and creamy when pureed. Fenugreek, as a seasoning, is used in so many different cultures – South Asian, Ethiopian (like in the clarified butter), Iranian, Turkish, Afghani…to name a few. I chose the leaves here over the seeds because the flavor of the leaves is much more subtle and lacks the typical bitterness of the seeds. Fenugreek leaves have a flavor not unlike celery, and, when warm, emit a sweetness of sorts.
This is a sinfully easy side dish to make. Fenugreek leaves can be purchased at most specialty spice stores, and even health food stores. Enjoy!
Yields 6 to 8 servings
3 small heads or 2 large heads of cauliflower, cored and cut into even-sized florets
3 garlic cloves
6 cups milk
1 stick butter
1 ½ tsps ground fenugreek leaves*
salt & freshly ground pepper
In a medium pot, bring cauliflower, garlic, a pinch of salt and milk up to a simmer. Do not boil. Simmer covered for 12-15 minutes or until cauliflower is very tender.
Strain cauliflower and garlic from milk mixture, reserving both. Melt butter with ground fenugreek in a small saucepot for 5 to 7 minutes.
Puree cauliflower in a blender with 1-1 ¼ cups of reserved milk and melted fenugreek butter, working in batches if necessary. Adjust milk amount based on desired texture of the puree. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and garnish with chives.
*In order to grind the fenugreek leaves without any of the stems, place a small sieve over a paper towel. Add fenugreek leaves and crush the leaves between your fingers and/or against the sieve, itself. The ground fenugreek will fall through the sieve onto the paper towel.