Yeah, you might need to read the title again. There is no rice in this rice dish. I thought hard about going ahead and making the original rice recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. I mean, that’s what French Fridays with Dorie is about, isn’t it? I stood in the grocery looking again at the carbohydrate amounts on the back of the bag of
rice, even the brown Arborio rice I’ve occasionally used, and was a bit floored. We don’t always stick to our eating plan, but rice is almost verboten in our house. It’s my food crack. Days after eating it, I’m dreaming of giant steaming bowls and I’m craving every sweet and carby thing known to human-kind. It’s not really a take it or leave it sort of carb for me.
For my next dinner party the original rice dish is definitely on the list; share it with a crowd and leave a tiny scrumptious scoop for me. Because I’m telling you, this is one delicious set of flavors that Dorie has cooked up in a French “risotto”: garlic, cream, butter, Swiss cheese swirled into risotto rice. [And be sure to see what the other FFwD cooks did with their rice.] So, then I thought I’d just sit this week out, or perhaps delve into the recipes I’ve missed (humm, Pancetta Green Beans perhaps?) but I had this half head of cauliflower left from making pickled vegetables…
Most low carbers at some point have found a recipe that just isn’t right without including rice; any stirfry, fried rice, or curry recipe comes to mind. Yes, you can make and eat the veggies and protein parts of the meal (in my opinion the best part) but when you absolutely need it there’s cauli-rice. Cauli-rice is shredded cauliflower, steamed or sauté/steamed until it is fluffy and resembling rice. This works better if you add a bit of chicken stock or bouillon, or some hearty seasonings like soy sauce and green onion. Cauliflower has a “cabbage-y” brachia family of vegetables flavor and odor and really tastes
NOTHING like rice. I love it on its own – but as a “rice,” it needs to have strong flavors to counter its own strong flavor.
Garlic, spinach and Gruyère sounded perfect.
Tasty Mayhem’s creamy, cheesy, garlicky, cauliflower and spinach, with a huge kudos to Dorie Greenspan:
½ head of cauliflower, broken up into florets and shredded/grated in a food processor.* You will end up with about 2.5 to 3 cups of raw shreds.
*you need a food processor shredder disk to shred cauliflower properly. You could do it by hand, but it’s difficult and incredibly messy. If you don’t have one, cook the cauliflower florets, finely chop them and proceed to the next step.
1 Tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon of salted butter
1 teaspoon of olive oil
½ cup of medium-fine chopped onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
8 oz of fresh baby spinach leaves, washed
¼ cup half and half or cream (depending on what you have on hand, cream is preferred)
¼ pound of Gruyère or other strongly flavored cheese, grated/shredded
Salt and pepper
Xanthan gum (a powdered vegetable gum, available in specialty and health food stores used to thicken slightly at end)
Run the cauliflower though the shredder/grater disk in the food processor. You will end up with a fine shred, looking somewhat like uncooked rice. Place the shredded cauliflower along with a tablespoon of water in a microwave proof dish with a lid (I use a small glass Pyrex baking dish with a glass lid). Microwave on high for about 3-4 minutes until cooked, but not mushy.
Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan with a lid that is deep enough to hold the uncooked spinach. Sauté the onion and garlic until softened, but not browned. Add the spinach, cover and steam for 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted. You may need to stir it once or twice. Add the steamed cauli-rice. Add the cream and grated cheese. Salt and pepper the dish. Stir until heated. The mixture will be a bit soggy. Lightly sprinkle xanthan vegetable gum over the veggies (you will use less than a pinch), stir to incorporate the xanthan. The dish should thicken enough so that any liquid from the vegetables and cream is incorporated into the dish. Wait 30 seconds before adding more xanthan, if needed.
The night I made the CCG cauli-rice we served it with oven roasted pork tenderloin that had been marinated in Greek seasonings. D and I both thought the cauli-rice would also be a great accompaniment to red meat, like lamb or a grilled steak. (So the next night I cooked a steak and ate it with the leftovers!)
Pork Tenderloin with Greek Marinade
2 pork tenderloins
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup of white wine
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
about ½ cup of chopped fresh herbs (I used oregano and basil)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
salt and pepper
Allow the tenderloins to sit for several hours, up to 8, refrigerated, in the marinade. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade, but be sure to strain or scoop out the herbs and garlic to coat the outside of the pork before roasting. Roast about 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your tenderloin) at 350 degrees in a roasting pan, with last five under the broiler to give them a browned finish. The garlic tends to stay very sharp with the short cooking time, so if you prefer it more mellow, saute or roast it prior to adding to the marinade.
Please note that Dorie’s rice recipe uses different amounts and additional ingredients. You should really have a copy of Around My French Table. And its on sale!