Garlicky Cauliflower

This is another one of those recipes that is very simple and bursting with flavor.  However, the first time someone brought it as a sidedish, it kind of grossed me out.  Steamed cauliflower, mayonnaise, and garlic – lots of garlic.  As much as I love mayonnaise, the thought of putting it on cauliflower seemed sacrilegious, as if it were spoiling a really healthy vegetable.  As I watched her make it in my kitchen, mincing a whole head of fresh garlic, my eyes widened, and I shook my head as I turned to complete my other dishes, thinking, “there is no way I’m eating that!”.  But then, of course I had to try it as all of my family oohed and aahed over it.  And you know, the cauliflower was perfectly steamed and bathed in a rich and creamy, and mildly garlicky sauce.  Mildly?  How a whole head of freshly minced garlic was transformed into a creamy mildly garlicky sauce was beyond me. 

After nearly 15 years of making this dish, it never ceases to amaze me how the heat of the freshly steamed cauliflower causes the mayonnaise and garlic to be transformed into such a mildly garlic dish.  And it all disappears, each and every time. 

Like many other garlic heavy dishes, do not be put off by the amount of garlic.  You’ll be surprised at how this is transformed once the three ingredients are combined. 

The source of this recipe?  From a friend.  Where did they get it?  I have no idea.  I even looked through the Hellman’s mayonnaise website, but found nothing, nothing through google, either.

  • One large head of the whitest, freshest cauliflower obtainable.
  • Mince one small head of garlic or half of a large head of garlic.  If you have a garlic press, this is an excellent option, too.
  • ½ to ¾ cup of your favorite mayonnaise (I usually start with 1/4 cup, and add as needed)

Trim the florets into bite sized pieces.  The smaller sections of the stalks can be chopped also; the larger stalk can be trimmed & peeled, and sliced into thin coins.  Like broccoli, the stalk is actually very sweet and nutty.

Steam the cauliflower.  Transer to a mixing or serving bowl (depending on your presentation standards and how many dishes you want to wash).  Immediately dump the garlic and mayonnaise, and combine while still steaming  hot using a rubber spatula.  Once it is well combined, garlic and mayonnaise are well distributed, let sit till ready to eat.  This can be rewarmed in microwave on low; I’ve never had the “sauce” separate.  It is good the next day, too, but depending on the age of the garlic, sometimes it can become a little stronger.  This is a great sidedish for any meal.

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