Topping today’s trends lists, cauliflower proves itself in many mouthwatering ways.
By Mary Brown Malouf, Photos by Adam Finkle, Plates from Williams-Sonoma
Warm Cauliflower Salad
Step aside kale and brussels sprouts, cauliflower is taking the title as the latest unlikely star of the kitchen. More than a cloud-white head of bland, cauliflower surprises with hues of orange, purple and chartreuse as well as unexpected preparation possibilities. Look beyond the usual rocky (or mushy) side dish of buttered florets. Forget cauliflower’s modest role as an inevitable part of a crudités platter. Instead, take inspiration from innovative chefs who are crumbling, creaming and roasting it for a delicious reveal on the plate.
Wash cauliflower florets and pulse in the processor until they resemble couscous. Sauté cauliflower kernels in olive oil with a garlic clove until al dente. Season and top with mixed roasted vegetables and pine nuts.
Boil cauliflower florets until tender; drain thoroughly and pat dry. Do not let cool. Put florets in food processor with 2 Tbsp. cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. salted butter, 1 clove minced garlic and pulse until smooth. Thin with chicken or vegetable stock, if necessary. Season liberally with pepper. Garnish with chopped chives.
Toss cauliflower florets in olive oil and place in an ovenproof pan with mashed garlic. Roast at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes, turning frequently so cauliflower browns lightly. Squeeze lemon juice over the florets and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Choose firm heads with no brown spots.
- Buy cauliflower whole, and break it into florets to get the freshest flavor.
- Store cauliflower stem side down in the fridge.
- Break cauliflower into florets before cooking to ensure more even cooking.
- Know that purple cauliflower cooks faster than white.
- Use broccoflower—the chartreuse cross between cauliflower and broccoli—as you would cauliflower.
- Experiment with cauliflower as a low-carb starch or potato substitute.