Recipe by Michael von Euw, Chef de Cuisine, Cavaillon
I have always played around with food. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to create new things as much as I wanted to recreate dishes I had eaten at restaurants. For a long time, my holy grail was making croissants. They fascinated me.
I went to college at Baylor University and was premed. Whenever I got stressed out with school, I cooked. Once I graduated, medicine wasn’t calling me as much as cooking was. Cooking always brought me joy and my family encouraged me to focus on what made me happy. I began researching culinary schools and went to Le Cordon Bleu in London.
I ended up working at the Capital Hotel in London for almost four years and that’s where I learned how to really cook. There is a time and a place for every ingredient. We used high-end vendors for sweetbreads and steak and veal. But I also learned that if you are going to make a stew that cooks for 16 hours, you don’t need to waste your money on fancy baby carrots. The way cooking techniques came about was based on necessity. A couple hundred years ago, people needed to eat liver or they would go hungry, so they found the best way to cook it so that it tasted good. They learned how to prepare offal and kidney pie and created beautiful things from what now often gets thrown away. Pretty much anyone can make foie gras and create something delicious with truffles and caviar, but it takes a certain skill to make the best cauliflower or sautéed onions. If you want to equate cooking with art, you need to learn the fundamentals.
When I’m not working, I sleep. I’m in the kitchen that often. But I go out every now and then. One thing I get when I have the chance is kebabs. They remind me of being in Europe and going out with my coworkers late at night after a long day in the restaurant. I also love making purple cauliflower puree because it turns this brilliant pink color when you add lemon juice. You can impress all your friends. I’m really not a picky eater. I’m like a pregnant lady and come up with some crazy combinations.
- 1 large head of purple cauliflower
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1–3 tsp lemon juice
Serves 4–6 as a side
HOW TO DO IT
Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and place them in a pot with enough water to cover. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook for one minute. Drain all the water and return the cauliflower to the pot. Repeat the previous step two additional times, for a total of three rounds of cooking. Drain the water and return to the pot after the third time, this time covering the cauliflower with the cream. Bring to a boil and as soon as it boils, remove from the heat.
Drain the cauliflower over a bowl so you can reserve all of the cream — don’t throw it away. Place the cauliflower into a blender and turn it on. While the blender is running, slowly add the cream until it gets some traction and begins to purée the cauliflower (you may not need to use all of the cream). Let it blend for a couple of minutes, and season as needed with salt and pepper.
Now you are left with a beautiful cauliflower purée, which you can eat as is. For that extra wow factor, add a couple drops of lemon juice to the purée on the plate until it turns hot pink. Alternatively, return the purée to the pot and add some of the cream and some milk in order to make a delicious soup.