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Recipe

Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Anchovy

Featured in our 2017 Christmas Guide

Yield: about 2 cups

Servings: 4 to 6 as a side, or enough to top 24 crostini

This rich mash works well as a side, but my favorite way to serve it is heaped on crostini for a robust nibble.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. cauliflower (about 1/2 large head)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
  • 1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
  • Kosher salt
  • 24 crostini (optional; see Note)
  • 1 oz. pecorino romano, grated or shaved
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  • Cut the cauliflower into 1-1/2-inch pieces, and discard the tough stem.
  • Set a steamer basket in a large, wide pot with about 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cover. Steam until tender but not completely soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Put the oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a large skillet heat over low heat. Cook until the garlic is softened but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the anchovies, mashing them a bit, and cook until they start to dissolve into the oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat with the oil. Cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of water as needed to keep the vegetables from drying out, until the florets are very tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and coarsely mash. Season to taste with salt. Serve as a side dish or on crostini topped with shaved pecorino, black pepper, and a drizzle of oil. Serve warm.

Tip

To make crostini, slice a thin baguette or ficelle on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick pieces—you should end up with about 24. Brush the tops with olive oil and bake at 400°F for about 8 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.

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