5 Ingredients or Fewer

Crushed Cauliflower

October  5, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is comfort food. It is overcooked but with restraint which gives it a flavor that is deep, resonant and all cauliflower. I can stand at the stove and eat all of it right out of the pan, so keep that in mind before you taste for seasoning. What happens is you get these really caramelly crunchier bits and these bigger pieces that are creamy and tender. It is really, really good with prime rib, leg of lamb or as I said all by itself while standing at the stove. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and the core cut out of the bottom
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground white pepper
  1. I use a steamer basket that unfolds like a circular fan if that makes any sense. The one that has three legs and folds up really small. You set it in a pot that has a lid. You add water till it almost touches the steamer. But what ever steamer you have it will work.
  2. Bring the water to a boil. Add the cauliflower head to the steamer and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Steam for 8 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the steamer and set it aside to cool.
  3. Once the cauliflower is cool set it on a cutting board. With the palms of you hands push, crush and flatten the entire head. You want some large and small pieces and some very small pieces.
  4. Heat a large skillet over high heat. When it is very hot but not smoking add 2 tablespoons of butter. It should shake in the pan. Immediately add the cauliflower and stir or toss it around. Season it with salt and white pepper. Toss it again.
  5. Using a spatula press down on the cauliflower making it into a potato cake, sort of. Let all the pieces on the bottom brown.
  6. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and toss or stir the cauliflower. Once again press down with a spatula and brown all the bottom pieces. Take care not to burn them it is a fine line. If a couple of pieces burn it is OK and remember cauliflower can take a lot of browning before burning.
  7. Once you have browned all the pieces with lots of color you are done. If it seems dry add more butter but take care not to make it oily by adding to much. Taste and season as necessary.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • marsiamarsia
  • MrsWheelbarrow
  • Bevi
  • aliyaleekong
  • gingerroot

17 Reviews

marsiamarsia August 5, 2014
Made this tonight and had to keep myself from eating the entire cauliflower head.
Just FABULOUS. And with just a few classic ingredients! This will become a regular in our household, and I'll tell all my friends about it too.
Bill C. May 18, 2012
Since discovering this recipe earlier this year, I've made it four times now including tonight. Once again, it was marvelous. Thanks for sharing.
MrsWheelbarrow October 10, 2010
I bought an extra head of cauliflower today just so I could make this. I didn't say share it. I said make it. Thanks, T
Bevi October 8, 2010
This looks amazing and I am making it tomorrow.
aliyaleekong October 6, 2010
Fantastic! I love the caramelized bits :)..
gingerroot October 6, 2010
I look forward to your recipes each week and this certainly does not disappoint. What a beautiful, well-executed dish. Yum, and thank you!
drbabs October 6, 2010
I'm not a big fan of cauliflower, but I think I would like this, especially if it had some finely chopped (slightly overcooked) onion added to it.
mrslarkin October 5, 2010
Yum. I bet I could scarf this down faster than you, thirschfeld. I love Jaques Pepin's recipes - totally uncomplicated. You've got a winner here.
thirschfeld October 6, 2010
Thanks and that is a race I would like to have. LOL.
Lizthechef October 5, 2010
I don't think this is "overcooked" one bit. Your recipe is yet another "keeper". I wish I had kept my steamer like yours - bought it in the 70's and it so did the trick.
thirschfeld October 5, 2010
I have to agree I don't think it is overbooked but went with it for lack of a better term. I have seen those steamers still. Many times hardware stores with cookwhere dept. will have them.
Kitchen B. October 10, 2010
Hi Liz, Ikea (if you have one close to you...or Walmart, I suspect) will have them - that's where I got mine!
Michelle January 12, 2018
i love those steamers! they look like a UFO when they're folded up
AntoniaJames October 5, 2010
Utterly gorgeous. So elegant, so uncomplicated. You really know how to make your ingredients work for you, don't you? Thanks for the warning about the risk of it disappearing before it gets out to the dining room. Sounds like I'll need to be heavily chaperoned when I make this. Thank you for another extraordinary recipe!! ;o)
thirschfeld October 5, 2010
You know Antonio, I used to make these utterly complicated dishes, and sometimes I still do, but then I started gardening. I garden about a half acre, so I am busy during the season and what time I have I want to cook with all these beautiful veggies. I see Jacque Pepin cooking these utterly simple dishes that are just amazing and as only he can do. Because of him I have come to believe when you have pristine product and good technique why complicate it.
TiggyBee October 5, 2010
Simple and lovely = simply lovely!
thirschfeld October 5, 2010
thanks TiggyBee, I must be getting old because I find myself liking overcooked veggies more and more. LOL. I have seen a lot of stunning cauliflower recipes this week.