21 October 2011

My favorite disguise for cauliflower...

I actually love cauliflower; as a kid, I loved my Grandma's heavily steamed (disintegrating) cauliflower drowning in butter that she used to serve for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Unlike all the other sides, this one didn't go into one of her fancy crystal serving dishes--she plopped it down on the table in the saucepan where it was cooked.  Maybe she didn't want to bother because she knew what I had yet to learn: a lot of people don't like cauliflower.  I don't know why, but I have seen grown adults act like total babies when they see a piece of cooked cauliflower in their food.  But it's cheap (most of the time), nutritious, and relatively free of pesticides and other scary modern things you have all over your nice, juicy strawberries and apples from Safeway.  And if I haven't sold you yet, maybe some fried onions and a whole bunch of cheese will do the trick.  

Cheesy Cauliflower Pie
Serve 6
1 frozen or refrigerated premade crust
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces (about 1 1/2 cups florets)
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon dried thyme
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (I prefer Dijon)

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place frozen pie crust on a baking sheet, poke with a fork in a few places, and prebake at 400°F for about ten minutes, or until crust is getting flaky on bottom.  
Meanwhile, in a parge skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  When it shimmers, add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the cauliflower,  teaspoon of the salt, and thyme, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower softens, about 10 minutes.  Season with pepper and set aside.  
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, the other teaspoon of salt, mustard, and the milk.  When the pie crust is ready, remove it from the oven and build your pie: sprinkle half of the cheese over the bottom, spread the cauliflower mixture evenly over that, pour the eggs mixture on top, and sprinkle the other half of the cheese on top.  I generally place a pie crust shield around the outside of the pie at this point to keep the edges of the crust from burning.
Place the pie in the oven, reduce heat to 375°F, and bake until golden, about 35 minutes.  Serve with tossed salad for a filling meal!