First of all, it is not lost on me that I accidentally plated this in the she of a heart because it is by far one of my favorite meals to make and eat. It’s suuuuper easy (30 mins, duh!!), and also very delish. There’s something about the spice from the shrimp that pairs so well with the cauliflower mash.
Also, can we just take a moment to praise cauliflower? Who.knew. that it could but such a tasty substitute for so many things including mashed potatoes. Being a southern girl, I LOVE my mashed potatoes, but… carbs. So they have to be reserved for special occasions for the most part.
This dish gives me some New Orleans cajun vibes which makes me love it even more. If you’ve never been to Nola, the food is amazing. The city is known for it’s party culture, but the cuisine there is to die for. Because I am a foodie it’s one of my favorite US Cities to visit! I would try to recommend a few restaurants to you, but I really can’t limit it down to that small of a list.
A few tips for making this meal: 1) buy a head of cauliflower vs the pre-cut version sold in bags for boxes. It’s typically 75% cheaper, and you can easily use the whole head. 2) make sure you buy kale greens, and NOT baby kale. I know that probably seems menial, but you need the crispy crunch you get from sautéed kale greens to help this dish reach it’s full potential. Now for the recipe…
- 1/4 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 c. kale greens
- 1 c. cauliflower
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- juice from 1/4 fresh lemon
- 1 tbsp butter (I use Earth Balance olive oil butter because it’s got lower sodium)
- 2 tbsp sour cream (buy based on dairy/dietary preference)
- 1/4 c milk (whatever your preference)
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp chili powder (use half if you’re not that in to super spicy and just want a tiny kick)
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the shrimp in a ziplock bag (be SURE it is a zipper seal and not a slide close seal or you’ll end up with a mess). Add in 1 tbsp of EVOO, cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Shake to cover the shrimp and set aside.
Using a large sauce pan bring 2 cups of water to a boil then add the cauliflower. This part is very tricky because you need the cauliflower to be soft enough to mash, yet not so soft that it turns to complete mush. The boil time that I’ve found works best is anywhere between 8-10 minutes. The way I test it is to stick it with a fork. If you can get the fork through the stem without force then it’s ready. If the cauliflower is sliding off the fork immediately when you stab it then it’s overdone. I know right, who knew there was an art to the perfectly blanched cauliflower for making faux mash. Drain the water from the sauce pan, and put the cooked cauliflower on a cutting board to remove and toss the stems (if you keep them in, you’ll get lumpy mash so if that’s your thing then carry on my friend!). Put the cauli either back in the saucepan or into a mixing bowl. I prefer the mixing bowl so I don’t have to worry about scratching up my saucepan.
Heat one tbsp of EVOO in a small skillet (or large if you’ve multiplied the recipe to feed more people) on medium to medium-high heat (my glass cooktop cooks like a hot tamale so I go for medium so the shrimp don’t end up burned and undercooked). Once the oil is hot, dump the shrimp from the bag in to the skillet. The shrimp will need to cook for 2-3 minutes per side. While the shrimp is cooking mash up the cauliflower, and then add in the butter, sour cream, milk and garlic. Whip to desired consistency.
Once the shrimp is done I will typically plate it atop the cauliflower mash. Wipe out the skillet used for the shrimp and toss in the other tbsp of EVOO. It should heat almost instantly because the skillet will still be hot. Add the kale, garlic and lemon juice. Toss for 1-2 minutes until the kale starts to wilt slightly and then plate with the shrimp & mash.
I know that is a LOT of detail, but I promise you this meal is ready in 30 minutes or less. As usual the recipe is set for one so that you can easily multiply for a crowd.
What are YOUR favorite restaurants in New Orleans? I’m heading back in a few months and am up for trying a new spot.