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Cauliflower Puree with Morel Mushrooms

30 Apr

(serves 3 as appetizers, 6 as amuse-bouche)
This is a dish that uses the King of Mushrooms, the Morel. For the longest time I wanted to create a signature vegetarian dish which could stand shoulder to shoulder with normal dishes. Finally I managed to come up with a recipe that has a meaty taste without using meat, a buttery nutty taste without using nuts, and good structure without using starch. Everyone always asks me what are the other ingredients and they refuse to believe there is nothing other than morel mushrooms and cauliflower on their plate, but that’s the truth. 
 
Ingredients Cauliflower Puree with Morel
  1. Chopped Cauliflower (1.5 cups)
  2. Dried Morel Mushrooms (0.5 cups)
  3. Butter
  4. Cream
  5. Port
  6. Dill Weed

Preparation

  1. Soak 0.5 cup of dried morel mushrooms in 0.5 cup of cool water.
  2. Crudely chop up your cauliflower into pea sized pieces. Discard the main stem.
  3. After the morels have soaked for at least 20 minutes, squeeze them dry and cut them also into pea sized bits. Keep the liquid.
  4. Stir fry the morel bits with a knob of butter on low heat for 2 minutes. Add 1T of port and a pinch of salt towards the end and turn the fire off as the pan dries. Put the morel bits aside.
  5. Simmer the cauliflower bits in the morel water in the same pan. Add 0.5t salt, 0.5t sugar, 0.5t pepper, 1T port, a knob of butter and 4T cream. When the liquid has been reduced by half, reserve a few T of the thickened liquid as a sauce for dressing.
  6. Puree the cauliflower in a food processor. How fine you want the puree to be is up to you, but I usually like to leave it slightly grainy for that extra texture. Covered with some cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
  7. Manually stir half the morel bits into the cauliflower puree and then arrange the puree on your plates. Sprinkle on some dill weed and dress with the reserved sauce and remaining morel bits.

Notes

  • You can consider serving this dish in double shot glasses or cappuccino cups if you don’t have those steel round forms. They are not that easy to shape manually.
  • This dish can also be used as a side dish for a meat course – serve it warm of course.
  • The last bit of the morel liquid will contain some sediment, pour that away.
  • Some morel will come with bits of leafy stem, cut those away as they spoil the bouncy texture of the mushrooms.
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