Cauliflower is a very versatile, tasty, and cost-effective veggie that is completely worth your time in the kitchen. It’s also loaded with nutrients you should take advantage of. So how about you learn more about cooking with cauliflower and enriching your culinary experience a little?
When I was a child, cauliflower freaked me out. Yes, this is exactly how I would describe the situation. I thought it looked weird and it tasted even weirder. Oddly enough, the only way I could eat it was if it was pickled. If I had pickled cauliflower, suddenly I could appreciate its amazing texture when I bit into it. The texture comes from the densely-packed florets that for the head, also named the curd.
Its flavor is nutty, almost sweet, and it can become creamy so easily. That's why cooking with cauliflower is a pleasure. You can use it to make pizza dough without flour! Can you imagine? You can cook it gratin, turn it into cream soup, or have it roasted as a side to some meats. It’s full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, folate, potassium, and magnesium.
Cauliflower’s health benefits include keeping your heart healthier, having anti-inflammatory properties, boosting your brain functions, and helping out your digestion. It’s also part of the cruciferous veggie family, which means that there are some compounds in it which might help fight cancer.
Picking out your cauliflower
This veggie is at its best during spring and fall, when you can get it at the farmers’ market, and not from the produce aisle of a supermarket. How do you pick one? You’ll know the head is fresh when the florets have a creamy white color with no brown spots or blemishes. The more spots, the older the cauliflower is.
Also, its stem should be firm and its leaves have a bright green hue. No wilted leaves allowed! Now the final step is this: smell it before putting it in your basket. It should be odorless. If it has a strong smell, then it’s been waiting to be bought for too long.
Once you’ve bought it, keep it in the fridge in a bag where it can breathe in. Don’t seal it off in any way. And don’t let too much moisture around it. If you respect these guidelines, fresh cauliflower will keep for about a week in the refrigerator. Cooked cauliflower keeps for three days, so don’t let it wait too long or you’ll break its flowery heart.
Prepping cauliflower before cooking
The easiest way to manage to prep the cauliflower head is to quarter it through the stem. Then put the florets in a colander and give them a good rinse to get rid of all the impurities still there. Don’t forget – this is not necessarily about cauliflower, but most veggies – if you want to roast the cauliflower, you should pat it down with some kitchen towels. If it’s not fully dry, the water will become steam and not brown the florets like you want or need.
Cooking with cauliflower – discover the possibilities
You can eat the cauliflower raw – in salads or veggie platters. But here’s how to hack cooking with cauliflower! It can be a main dish or a side dish, its nutty sweet flavor works with so many things. And of course, you can pickle it! That’s still my favorite way to have cauliflower.
You can add it in omelets or frittatas, tarts, quiches, even pasta. Chop it into pieces and transform it into a cream soup. Shave it and add it to a salad with some lettuce and a lemon dressing or radishes, spring onions, and olive oil. Roast it delicately in the oven with rosemary and serve it alongside a steak. Let the cauliflower become the steak by cutting it in sections and roasting it.
Pair it with cheese and some heavy cream sauce over some fresh pasta. Use it with brown rice and some roasted chicken thighs. Make a vegetarian lasagna with cauliflower substituting the meat. Or boil it, top it off with some white sauce and cheeses to make a spectacular gratin dish.