An Old New Trick

Mashed cauliflower-Duo Dishes

Call it a trompe l’oeil if you like.  You know, that French phrase that means ‘trick the eye’.  There are some fun food tricks out there that really blow us away.  We went to a birthday party earlier in the summer, and as we walked up to the celebrating group, we saw three small tables full of sliders.  Full mini burgers with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and sesame seed buns.  Score!  As we got closer, we were told they were not sliders, but in fact cupcakes.  What!  The man of the evening’s fabulous and super artistic girlfriend had spent the entire day doing something unprecedented for her–using her super artistic skills to make treats like this.  A true trompe l’oeil.  What you see above is nowhere near as elaborate or creative as what we’ve detailed, but it’s one of the circulating tricks that have been going around for a while.  It wasn’t until now that we’d given it a try.

Do they look like mashed potatoes? Hope so! The funny thing is that there is no potato in site. All of that fluffy goodness is really cauliflower. If we really wanted to pull the wool over your eyes, we could’ve made a mini bread roll, pulled out the inside, stuffed it with mashed cauliflower and decorated the top with crispy bacon, more cheese, chives and a dollop of sour cream.  Maybe even a little chili?  Or is that doing too much?  Just writing that makes the stomach rumble for more, so it looks like we have a new trompe l’oeil on the to-do list.  For now, please be satisfied with the simple white bowl presentation method.

Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower – Serves 4 to 6
2 medium heads fresh cauliflower, stalk removed and florets separated
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add cauliflower florets.   Cook until fork tender but not mushy, approximately 10-15 minutes.

2.  Remove cauliflower and place pieces in a large bowl.  Use a potato masher to break up the largest chunks.  Pour into a blender or large food processor, but keep the bowl to the side.

3.  Add milk, rosemary and salt to cauliflower and blend to desired consistency.  Return to the original bowl and stir in cheddar cheese until melted through.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


43 thoughts on “An Old New Trick

  1. Wow, I was looking at that picture, thinking, “that rice dish looks awesome”. You tricked me! I’m not a caulifower fan, but I have to try to make this 🙂


  2. I am not yet a full convert to cauliflower but prepared this way, I would be willing to give it a try! From the picture, I would’ve been totally fooled – as I was years ago when my classmate invited me over to her house for dinner. Her mom made mashed turnips but I thought they were ‘tatoes . . . um, not my fave food memory.

  3. I used a cauliflower purree on a sandwich I made last year and remember thinking, “this would totally work as healthier mashed taters!” In fact, I think it tasted just as good – if not better, and I bet your version with cheese would blow the poor little spud away!

  4. This looks great. I’ve got cauliflower AND cheddar taking up fridge space right now, left over from recipes that got scrapped at the last minute. Maybe this will make an appearance on tonight’s table!

  5. The cauliflower trick is a tried and true one in my kitchen. It’s amazing how deceptive it can be! The Chinese also do a lot of tricks like these where they will present you with a dish that is the polar opposite of what you thought it would be – think vegetarian duck.

  6. I love making this, too. It’s also why I love making pureed cauliflower soup, too. The texture turns so creamy when pureed. You’d swear there was cream in it, even if there isn’t.

  7. Haha that’s funny, I totally thought mashed potatoes, b/c we made them last night. I recently saw a recipe for cauliflower mash though & was intrigued. Yours looks great!

  8. I love cauliflower! And too funny because that picture really does look like mashed potatoes… even after reading your post and inspecting it further! I haven’t had cauliflower in a long time… I’m kind of craving it now. Had broccoli tonight, but that’s so not the same!

  9. I love mashed cauliflower! This looks so delicious! I usually eat mine with Parmesan – I’ll have to give the cheddar a try next time.

  10. How funny, I always heard of this dish but was never tempted to make it…now that I’ve seen I’ll definitely give a try, looks yummie and healthy

  11. For a minute there I really did think that this waw mashed potatoes. It’s amazing how the eye can trick the mind. I’ve seen mashed cauliflower before, but have never had it. I wouldn’t have known it, if you hadn’t mentioned it.

  12. No, I don’t think that’s too much at all, making a faux-twice baked potato with it. In fact, I bet that would be awesome. Although I’m sure it’s great as is.

  13. Oh, wow, that looks yummy – I love cauliflower but don’t buy it much here in Japan because it’s so dang expensive. Can’t wait to try this when we move to the States next month.

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