When I walked into the greengrocers the other day, I saw the most beautiful looking cauliflowers that I have ever seen…so I bought one and then came home and wondered what I could do with it! The answer was Ryan Flaherty’s Cauliflower Sausages.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, Dani gave me some maltodextrin, which I used for the Pine Nut Crumb, and some Metil Methylcellulose, which I used in this recipe. Both these ingredients can be hard to get and pricey at that, so it would be a perfect opportunity to share the purchase with another thermomix or foodie friend.
Metil Methylcellulose is like a jelly that sets as it heats up. You only need 15 grams of the actual Metil Methylcellulose, and it makes about 4 times what you actually need for one batch of the recipe. The Metil mixture – once it’s made up into a liquid – keeps for a week in the fridge, but I don’t think it would freeze all that well. You need to mix it up and prepare it first, and let it cool for 4 hours, so this is a recipe that you need some time to prepare. The cauliflower puree also needs some time to cool, and the dried cauliflower needs to stay in the oven overnight, so I actually prepared this recipe over a few days. First I made the Metil mix, then the curry oil, then the dried cauliflower, and finally the sausages and the cous cous.
Having said that, it would be a great dinner party entree although very rich, so you’d want to serve it with something fairly light as a main course.
The first step in this recipe was the preparation of the Metil Methylcellulose. You do this part in a bowl – not the TM bowl. You add the water and mix it – well, as much as you can mix it – it’s sort of like wallpaper paste in consistency. Once you’ve got it fairly lump free, you add the mix to the TM bowl and blend and heat it. It froths up quite a bit, and when I opened the bowl after it had finished mixing, there was quite a layer of foam on it, which does subside (but not completely) while it’s cooling. When it’s cool, it is almost jelly like in its texture, and when I used it later I avoided the foamy white part at the top.
Next, I made the mix for the cauliflower sausages. They were pretty easy to make, although the first time I did them, I forgot to take the bunch of thyme out before I blended it – so I started over. Not sure it actually made that much difference, as although you tie the thyme in a bunch so you can pull it out later, the bunch that I actually got to pull out was a pathetic shadow of it’s former self – so much of the thyme comes off during the cooking, and by the time you’ve pureed it, I don’t think much of the thyme stalks would remain. The second batch I made was a lot less green than the first batch.
When I was blending the cauliflower mix, I put it on 50 degrees as was listed in the recipe. The friction of the blades going at speed 10 for 12 minutes gives you a headache as it takes a surprisingly long time for the noise to change to that ‘pureed’ sound if you get what I mean, and the temperature remained above 50 degrees the whole time. Make sure you don’t forget to add the toasted cumin and the chopped chervil. (Which I now grow in plentiful supply in my garden since I had such a hassle finding it last time I needed it!) I actually found the cumin too overpowering in the final product, so next time I’ll reduce the cumin quantity a little.
Once you cool the puree you can add the Metil mixture. It’s really, really like wallpaper paste, so you need to make sure that you measure out the required quantity of the Metil mix and the cauliflower puree – I had a little over what I needed for the ratios, so chances are you will too. So, if you’re a little short on cauliflower, don’t stress for the puree part. I mixed it through just using a spatula, which worked fine. And then it was on to the difficult part – or the part I had thought would be difficult – making the sausages…
I followed Dani’s instructions in terms of the size of the sheet of glad wrap that I used, and it was a great size. If you are serving this for a dinner party, you’d probably want to me a little more consistent than I was with the amount in each sausage, smaller is easier to manage in terms of wrapping and then tying off the ends. The wrapping and typing process is actually surprisingly easy – I had no disasters at all.
The dried cauliflower looks amazing!! It’s really worth the wait to do it – it takes overnight in a very, very, very low oven to prepare it. I didn’t trust my knives or my knife skills to slice it so thinly so I used the mandolin on the very thinnest setting, which worked beautifully. I put it in the oven at the lowest setting mine would go to (50 degrees) and after a few hours I sneaked a peek, and it didn’t seem to be drying as well as I thought it would, so I turned the heat up to about 65/70 degrees and left it for a few more hours, which was perfect. Next time I’ll throw some salt and pepper on it before I cook it.
Cauliflower “Cous Cous”
The cous cous is easy to make, but I think mine was a little too moist. To me, it should have been drier, but I think I’ll blame myself for that. I drained it on the kitchen paper after cooking the butter through it, but it was still quite wet, and I fancied it a little drier. Hmmm, next time I might cook it longer and see if that dries it out a little.
The curry oil also needs several hours (or a couple of days if you have the time) to mature flavours, and it’s really aromatic. It takes quite a lot of bottled spices to make, so next time I’ll buy my own whole spices and mill them down in the thermomix, which will make it even more aromatic I think (and maybe even cheaper) I strained the oil after a day or so, using coffee filter paper, and ended up with about 60 mls of the oil. I’ll use the rest on Middle Eastern Pizzas in the next week or so.
Plating it up
You serve the sausages as soon as you’ve taken them out of the varoma. They are very hot, as you’d expect, and you need to leave them for a few minutes to set properly. Once they are set, you can just cut the ends off and unwrap them – easier said than done when you’re trying to find the end of the glad wrap!! I ended up just cutting down the whole length of the glad wrap, and it didn’t have any ill effects. There will be a little water around, so don’t unwrap them on the plate you are planning to serve them up on. I’m pleased to say mine unwrapped perfectly!
Overall, this is a lovely, impressive dish. The sausages are rich and very creamy – the dried cauliflower provides a real textural contrast. And the curry oil is just lovely!!