Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cauliflower - for Lovers and Haters Alike

Cauliflower has many fans. Also many enemies.

"This is dinner? Is this some kind of cruel, sick joke?" asked a friend who saw my cookbook opened to a cauliflower curry. I had actually planned to substitute some less objectionable vegetables for the cauliflower in deference to his preferences. Hater!

My friend Thom is in the Cauliflower Lover camp. She writes,
Cauliflower is my favorite vegetable!  I like it steamed, roasted, saluted or mashed (but not so much raw.) It is high in potassium and fiber.  A whole entire head of cauliflower is only 150 calories and it will fill you up! 
When you buy the cauliflower, make sure there are no brown spots or black dots on them.  You want the florets to be tightly closed. It's they are loose, the cauliflower has likely been sitting on the shelves for a long time. 
When you cook cauliflower, break it into florets or cut it into smaller pieces, making  sure they are uniform size so they will cook evenly.  Don't throw the stems away! They add texture to the dish. Cut the stem into even smaller pieces, since the stem pieces take longer to cook.
For a simple and tasty recipe, I recommend roasting cauliflower in a pan on a single layer. Crowding the pan will make it harder for the cauliflower to caramelize.  For every 1 head of cauliflower, I would add 2-3 garlic cloves to it. Just smash it and throw them in with the florets.  Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper for taste and mix well. Put the pan into a 375-400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, and you are done! 
If you like to walk on the wild side, here are different variations:
a) Before roasting, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to the fore and mix well. Very healthful!

b) After the cauliflower has been roasting for 20 - 25 minutes (about 10 minutes before it's done), remove the pan and sprinkle a thin layer of Parmesan cheese on the cauliflower. 

Yum! Look how caramelized and snackable these florets look.

For those whose only association with cauliflower is a boiled-to-the-point-of-waterloggged mess method, this recipe can be a revelation.

As a test, I recommended Thom's method to Lol to see if she would try it. Success! Lol said, "Amazingly tolerable! And I think it would even work with frozen cauliflower, since you're eliminating the whole waterlogged part."

One Hater converted, millions to go. Our work is just beginning.