Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower Crumb Crust

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

The cauliflower crumb crust adds welcome crunchy texture and lovely buttery-parmesan flavor (with no bread!) to creamy mashed potatoes.

  • Yield: Makes 8-10 servings
  • Cuisine: American
  • Course: Side Dish

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Cauliflower crumb:

1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mashed potatoes: 

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup half and half

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. 

2. For the cauliflower, place the florets in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the size of small grains of rice. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheese, oil, basil and salt. Spread onto a large baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 10 minutes then stir the cauliflower. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes, stirring cauliflower again after 5 minutes, until golden brown (there may be spots that aren’t brown and that’s normal). Remove from the oven. 

3. Combine the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 2-inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender, 14-16 minutes. Drain the potatoes then return to the saucepan. Meanwhile, combine the half and half and butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium until the butter melts and the mixture is hot. Add the butter mixture, salt and pepper to the potatoes and mash until smooth. 

4. Transfer the potatoes to an 2-quart oval au gratin dish. Top evenly with the cauliflower and serve warm.