Roasted Cauliflower Purée

Last week at Bennett’s, Ryan put together a scallop special with a bright blood orange salad and an amazing roasted cauliflower purée. I like sharing these component recipes, ones that you can take and adapt to your own dishes. I love the idea of them being tweaked or combined with things I would have never expected. 

Roasted Cauliflower Purée
Makes 3 cups

1 cup cauliflower florets
1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
4-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon Maximus/Minimus Seasoning Blend

3/4 cup chicken stock (home-made or low-sodium)

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together cauliflower, onions, garlic, spices, and oil. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until the cauliflower is golden brown (about 10 minutes).

Transfer the vegetables into a small sauce pot and add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart (about 20 minutes). Add cream and butter, then salt and pepper to taste. Cook on stovetop for 2 more minutes.

Purée the mixture in a blender in batches until smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of a thick sauce.

Note: For a thinner sauce, return the sauce to the stove and add more stock or cream. For a thicker sauce, start the recipe with less stock and add less cream on the final step.

This is a recipe that would be a great alternative to mashed potatoes or a great sauce for chicken. Post in the comments about other ideas you have!

Piri Piri Pepper Sauce

What the heck is a piri piri pepper? No, it’s not Peter Piper’s worst nightmare (well, okay, maybe it would be). Also known as the African Bird's Eye pepper, it’s a chile of Portuguese origin that’s most famously prevalent in Africa. I came across it in a little shop in Pike Place Market and knew I had to try it out. With my recipe for the Bennett’s special already partially formed in my head, I figured that a sauce would be the perfect way to include this exotic little pepper in my plans.

After some tweaking, the sauce was spicy, sweet, and tangy. It had complexity and a heat that just kept you coming back for more, and it was super easy to make. And here’s a hint: it might be REALLY good on smoked meat…

The piri piri pepper sauce, ready to serve!

Piri Piri Pepper Sauce
(makes about 3 1/2 cups)

3 cups distilled vinegar
4 teaspoons chopped dried piri piri peppers
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1 kaffir lime leaf, crushed

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend together. Reserve and let rest for at least two hours.

Let me know what you think in the comments!
This was the Bennett's special: Grilled chicken on a strata made with roma tomatoes, kale, Grand Central Bakery bread, and Georgetown Brewing's Roger's Pilsner, all topped with a thin gravy and roasted yellow & purple cauliflower florets. That's the piri piri sauce in the ramekin on the side!

Sweet Onion and Fresno Pepper Gremolata

Last week’s Bennett’s special was a pair of soups with a bright winter green salad. One of the soups, a baked potato chowder, needed a little extra kick, but just some more salt and pepper wasn’t going to do it. No, this needed to be something a little more complex, with sweetness and spiciness, a nice tang and plenty of seasoning. So I set to making just that. Although I used the resulting gremolata recipe to top the potato chowder, it would go great as a garnish or condiment on lots of other things, too.

Sweet Onion Fresno Pepper Gremolata
Makes about 3 cups

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 small Fresno peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cups roughly chopped sweet onions (about 2 medium onions)
1/8 cup Sushi Su vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Maximus/Minimus Seasoning Blend
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over high heat until smoking. Add the peppers and cook for one minute without stirring. Add the onions and cook, tossing occasionally. When the onions and pepper have some color on the edges (about two to three minutes), add the vinegar and seasonings, stir and let cook until vinegar is reduced, about two to three more minutes. Chill immediately.

What are your ideas to serve with this? Share in the comments!
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Lover of big ideas and bold flavors. Food should be like family and friends: honest, fun, and fulfilling.

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