I have a new toy. It is quite possibly the best kitchen gadget to enter my home since my Kitchen Aid, which is now almost 15 years old. Let me add, I am not short of culinary tools. But my master slicer has seriously changed my life.
Having walked straight passed these green and white contraptions on countless occasions in Israeli markets, it finally caught my attention a few months ago on Instagram. And within moments the Amazon purchase was made, and the little brown box arrived the following morning. Thus began the love affair.
I use the master slicer just about every day, for chopped salads (the perfect side for morning scrambled eggs), salsas, soffritto for sauce and soups, herbs........the list goes on.
I can hear your heckling - how is it different to a magimix, vitamix or minichopper? (All by the way have dedicated spaces on my worktop). This has three blades (not the two that are usually found in a magimix or blender), which produces chopped veggies not minced, mushed or pureed. And best of all, it is manual, not electric, so you have much more control over the size of the desired ingredients, and no need for nearby plug sockets.
At approximately the same time as the master slicer entered my life, I started to make cauliflower rice. I know, I am slow on the uptake of this latest gluten free, no carb, grain alternative to just about every meal. But to be honest, I suffered through a number of bad experiences when this rice alternative hit the streets, most memorably in one eatery (that shall remain nameless), that prides itself on all things healthy. My cauliflower rice arrived soggy, raw, and completely lacked seasoning. It was as though boiling water had been poured over the chopped cruciferous veg, not quite drained, dumped on a plate with no salt, pepper, herbs or anything containing any taste at all. And I was sworn off this "healthy" alternative for good.
Until, reading through Anna Jones book for the umpteenth time, I stumbled upon her recipe for spiced cauliflower rice. And concluded, that if it was good enough for her, I should at least try to make it as an alternative to my regular family offerings.
We eat a lot of grains here that I make in bulk and keep in the fridge as sides for quick weekday meals. This rice has been added as a most popular option. It is perfect along side grilled, fish, meat veggies, stews or with a fried egg on top. It has all the deep almost caramelised flavours of roasted cauliflower in half the time and taking up no oven space.
And it takes about 15 seconds to chop the ingredients in the master slicer. Throw in your quartered onion, crank handle maybe 5-10 times to give perfect chopped onions. While they are sauteeing, chuck in your cauliflower florets into the bowl (no need to rinse), turn the handle maybe 10 times, and once the onion is browned add the "rice" it to the pan. Could not be easier. Barely any clean up. No watery eyes from the onions. No big machines to dismantle. I mean it really is a sinch. And you will fall in love with the machine almost as much as you will fall in love with the slightly burnished, almost guilt free cauliflower.
Just a side note. This is not a sponsored post. I know that I may sound like an infomercial about the master slicer. But I do absolutely love it, and every so often I will share a gadget or tool that I find indispensable in the kitchen at that given moment. But the opinions are my own and all items are purchased by me.
Inspired by Anna Jones and Yotam Ottolenghi who encouraged me to revisit the cauliflower as an underloved vegetable.
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets, core removed
salt and pepper
handful of chopped herbs such as parsley, dill, corriander and/or mint
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over a medium heat
Chop the onion (or slice into half moons or grate on the large holes of a box grater) and add to the pan with the olive oil
Sautee on medium heat until nicely browned and fragrant 10-15 minutes
In the meantime, core the cauliflower and cut into florets. Chop until it is the size of grains of rice or grate on the large holes of a box grater
Just as the onions begin to brown add the chopped garlic, and cook making sure it does not stick and burn.
Add the chopped cauliflower to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Turn over in the pan with the onions, and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure that it does not stick to the pan. You want it to brown and caramelise in places, but not burn!
When it is golden and tender, remove from the heat and sprinkle with roughly chopped herbs. I like to add a squeeze of lemon before serving. (But I like to add a squeeze of lemon to most dishes before serving!)
It is delicious hot, or at room temperature. This is very adaptable so feel free to use spices or herbs to flavour this dish that compliment anything else you are serving with it.