There was a time when I had blacklisted cauliflower from my shopping list. I found it either bland or not particularly appealing. It’s not that I didn’t like the taste, it’s just that it could never compete next to the much cooler vegetables such as eggplants, zucchinis, sweet potatoes and even cabbage for crying out loud. I would never think “I must absolutely buy one of those gorgeous cauliflowers! ” in the supermarket. I think this is the case of most of us. Two winters ago however, when temperatures in Paris dropped to -15°C, I was desperately looking for something to make a heartwarming soup with. To this day, I still think fondly of that sympathetic cauliflower sitting in the fridge crying out “eat me!”. With the right mix of flavors, broth and spices, that sullen-looking cauliflower turned into a bowl of pure bliss that sparked me to put cauliflower back on the menu. I will post the soup recipe soon, but today I made something entirely different with, yet again, another lonely cauliflower sitting in the fridge.
Take it from an ex-cauliflower-sceptic like myself, cauliflower represents the land of possibilities of vegetables. Ever since I’ve been taking a few cues from primal cooking, I have found cauliflower to be one of the most interesting vegetables to cook with and have discovered so many uses for it. It has a similar consistency to potatoes without the starchy carbohydrates, it is low in calories and is a great source of Vitamin C (1 cup serving of cauliflower provides you with 75% of your daily needs). On top of it all, it easily takes on the taste of other ingredients, making it a very complementary food to cook with. I like to toss it in tuna salads, use it in soups, roast it in the oven and make cauliflower fried “rice” (so many future recipe posts are coming to mind right now!). Just made my mouth water a little…
Here’s a more original way to use your own abandoned cauliflower sitting in the back of the fridge. These little hash browns are very easy to make and oh-my-god delicious, great to eat as a healthy snack (that doesn’t have the taste of a “healthy snack” like carrot sticks do) or with brunch. I actually didn’t know whether to call them hash browns, tortillas, pancakes or latkes… you decide on that one.
Cauliflower Hash Browns
Makes 10 hash browns
1 head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons of flaxmeal
Coconut oil, butter or your choice of fat for cooking
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven at 220°C
2. Chop the cauliflower in small florets and process in a food processor or blender on high until it reaches a very fine “rice” texture. Make sure the texture is very thin and grainy, if there are bigger chunks they will make it harder for your hash browns to stay together when cooking.
2. Microwave the cauliflower rice in a bowl for two minutes
3. Lay out a clean kitchen towel on a working surface or in a large salad bowl and transfer the cauliflower rice to the center of the towel. Twist it into a tight know and squeeze out excess water from the cauliflower as much as you can. Careful not to burn yourself. Your cauliflower rice should look like this after this operation:
4. In a bowl, whisk two eggs. Combine with the cauliflower and add the flaxseed meal and salt and pepper.
5. Heat the coconut oil or butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Drop a tablespoon of cauliflower batter into the pan . Press down delicately with the back of the spoon to shape into thin patties, taking precaution not to break them. Let the hash browns cook on low heat for 2 minutes on each side, then remove from the skillet and place them on an absorbant paper to remove excess oil.
6. Toast in the oven for 2-3 minutes on each side to make them extra crispy.