Cauliflower puree pairs well with swordfish

Chicago TribuneApril 9, 2014 

I take notes when I dine out to inspire my home cooking. These days those “notes” usually involve a camera. A quick scroll through my favorite restaurant photos prompted a trip to the fish market. Inspired by a recent dinner of swordfish with pureed cauliflower at Underbelly in Houston, the dinner menu that follows proves impressive despite simple ingredients and everyday techniques. It’s especially inspiring as we emerge from winter eager for spring vegetables and garden-fresh herbs.

I start dinner by transforming cauliflower, oft considered a boring staple, into a light, whipped side dish. Trick is to boil the cauliflower in plenty of salted water to dissipate the strong cabbage aroma. Then a quick puree in the blender with sesame oil and canned chick peas to make a kind of hummus. I save some of the tender florets to brown in oil for a golden garnish.

I plan to serve the hummus underneath the roasted fish to absorb any deliciousness. However, this cauliflower hummus is so good, it’s become a favorite dip to serve with crackers or toasted pita chips.

Most fish taste great sitting atop cauliflower this good. I’m partial to meaty fillets, such as wild-caught swordfish or sea bass. Halibut works too.

Here, I’m seasoning the thick fish fillets with sweet spices and herbs. A drizzle of olive oil just before cooking will ensure moist results.

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