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
head of cauliflower, trimmed and the core cut out of the bottom
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.
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.
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.
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.
Using a spatula press down on the cauliflower making it into a potato cake, sort of. Let all the pieces on the bottom brown.
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.
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.