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Spud Sunday: Waste Watching

Cheesy Cauliflower Pie

Cauliflower pie

Don’t panic, this recipe does not contain four pounds of cheese – four ounces, more like – but I wanted to include it, as it’s really a template for a pie to which you could add whatever cheese and vegetables you have on hand.

It’s based on a recipe I found in Eveleen Coyle’s Irish Potato Cookbook [1] and it was the potato crust that caught my eye. No pastry here, but a crust composed of grated potato, grated onion and egg – an excellent gluten-free alternative for any savoury pie.

I have jazzed the original recipe up by roasting the cauliflower and adding gorgonzola and walnuts, though vary it with whatever vegetables and cheese you have around.

You’ll need:

  • 1 potato crust (see recipe below) or use a shortcrust pastry lining, baked blind for about 10-15 minutes before filling
  • 500g cauliflower, washed and separated into small florets
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 50g walnuts
  • butter for frying
  • 1 small onion, about 100g, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 50g mature cheddar, grated
  • 50g gorgonzola
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100ml milk
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tblsp grated parmesan

You’ll also need:

  • A 24cm round ovenproof dish, about 4cm deep, and a couple of baking trays (mine were about 20cm x 30cm)

The Steps:

  • Preheat your oven to 200C, prepare and bake the potato crust as below.
  • While the potato crust is baking, toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, spread them out on a baking tray, place in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, until starting to soften and char very slightly.
  • Spread the walnuts out on another baking tray and place in the oven for 5 minutes to lightly toast. Remove and chop roughly.
  • Once the pie crust, cauliflower and walnuts are done, turn the oven down to 180C.
  • Place a small frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add about a teaspoon of butter. When the butter has melted, add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Stir and fry for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the chopped garlic and thyme, stir and fry for about a minute more, then remove from the heat.
  • To assemble the pie, add the grated cheddar to the baked crust, followed by the cauliflower, fried onions and chopped walnuts. Crumble over the gorgonzola. Beat together the eggs and milk and pour over the vegetables and cheese. Add a few twists of black pepper and sprinkle over the grated parmesan.
  • Return to the oven for about 25 minutes or until the eggs are set. If the edges of the crust are browning too much, cover with foil while cooking.
  • Slice and serve warm with a green salad and perhaps a glass of wine.

The Variations:

  • Really, you can vary the filling freely according to the vegetables and cheese that you have on hand.

The Results:

  • Pie for 4-6 people

Savoury Potato Crust

You’ll need:

  • 500g grated raw potato, preferably a floury variety
  • 175g grated onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • olive oil for brushing the pie dish and crust

You’ll also need:

  • This amount is enough to line an ovenproof dish, about 24cm round and 4cm deep

The Steps:

  • Preheat your oven to 200C
  • Using a clean tea-towel, squeeze as much liquid from the grated potatoes as you can and mix with the grated onion, salt and beaten egg.
  • Brush your pie-dish generously with olive oil and spread the potato mixture over the base and along the sides of the dish.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until the surface of the potato crust had dried out and is starting to turn lightly golden. Remove from the oven, brush the crust with olive oil and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until browned, then fill as desired.

The Variations:

  • Depending on the type of filling you want to use, you might like to add some herbs or spices to the crust or perhaps omit the onion and add some extra grated potato instead.

The Results:

  • One 24cm pie crust