Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables in the kitchen and is appreciated as a staple in cuisines from all over the world. With a little imagination it can be turned into all kinds of wonderful food.
Lately, cauliflower has experienced an upgrade among chefs. Kale and cabbage with green leaves have been all the rage, but now this white, chunky cousin is also making appearances in exclusive kitchens.
Cauliflower, with the characteristic, cloud-like flower buds, is a member of the brassica family, just like brocoli. The edible flower is underdeveloped and white because it is surrounded by fleshy green leaves that protect it from the sun.
Not surprisingly, it is popular in traditional food all over the world. It looks great, is satisfying to eat, and can be turned into all sorts of food – even in the most pretentious of kitchens:
”Couscous” made from cauliflower
Use a sharp knife or a peeler to shave off the outer layer of the white flower. The resulting "crumbles" can be used for all sorts of things. An alternative to rice or couscous, with less calories.
Whole cauliflower baked in the oven
This brings about sweet, nutty flavors. Rub generous amounts of butter all over the head of cauliflower and bake in the oven at 200 to 225°C (392 to 437°F). The cauliflower is cooked when the surface is nicely browned. serve with toasted (in a dry pan) pine kernels and raisins.
Cut the head of cauliflower into smaller "bouquets", place in an oven tray with a little oil and roast in the oven at 225°C (437°F). The bouquets should be seared and a little crisp on the edges, just short of burnt. Add a few drops of exclusive oil, decorative salt crystals, and serve.
Cauliflower is the perfect ingredient in stews that lack meat or fish. It is popular in India where it goes beautifully in vegetarian dishes together with the region's most popular spices; Cumin and caraway, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, turmeric, chili, and more. To avoid boiling the cauliflower to a watery pulp, add it to the stew shortly before serving.
Deep fried cauliflower
Like tempura and/or a vegetarian alternative to fish ’n’ chips. Bigger chunks can be lightly boiled or steamed in advance, but best of all are small flower bouquets that are rapidly cooked in the hot oil. Add salt to the cauliflower before covering with batter/breading.
A vegetarian classic. The secret is to add as little liquid as possible, because the cauliflower will release lots of water when cooked. All you basically have to do is cover it with a flavorful cheese and put it in the oven...
Crumble the outer bits of the cauliflower into a "rice" and fry with caramelised onion. The cauliflower must be added towards the end and sautéed for a short while on high heat so that it doesn't become mush. Be generous with the butter.
It's naturally crispy, it looks great, it's tasty, and you can pickle big or small bouquets (bigger ones might need a little boiling or steaming before). Cauliflower in a jar is great stuff.
Was served, not long ago, at the Nobel banquet (to celebrate the Nobel prize). To conserve as much of the flavors and the nourishment as possible, only boil the cauliflower for a few minutes before applying the mixer. Ordinary, newly ground black pepper does wonders for this dish.
Cauliflower goes well with seafood, not least in the form of a silky smooth mousse. A perfectly cooked scallop on a small cloud of cauliflower mousse (maybe seasoned with a hint – but only a hint – of truffles) is a simple first course that makes quite a statement
This is cauliflower it its healthiest form. Enjoy it with rich, tasty dip sauces like bagna cauda, romesco, and more.
Use the stem and leaves
The coarsest, outer leaves can be discarded, but the rest of the "greens" on a cauliflower can be chopped up and added to, for example, a meaty stew. The flavors and the juiciness of the chopped vegetable contribute to boosting meat and umami flavors.
Dried fruit and nuts
Cauliflower goes well with dried fruits and nuts (but maybe not so well with peanuts). This makes a wonderful combination, among others, with the Indian spices mentioned above...
Read more about cauliflower in PS Food Academy