Move over Kale and Brussel Sprouts – your claim to fame is fading. I present you the veggie power player – a lovelier flower has yet to grace your plate. This is cauliflower power.
Never an antagonistic veggie, the winsome cauliflower has sat forlorn and bypassed on supermarket shelves, allowing its green cousin, the broccoli to receive all the acclaim, never vying for first place. Well those days are over. No more insipid and lackluster boiled cauliflower. Boiling veggies is a lackluster way of preparing anything, so no wonder no-one wants to eat let alone look at it. Boiling anything, (for the most part other than eggs of course) removes all the nutritional value, as all the nutrients behind in the water.
For carb-antagonistic consumers, it’s now the award-winning choice, taking form in a myriad of bodacious and imaginative dishes. Because if you are looking for a gluten, carb-free meal or an accompanying side, this is the ticket.
Rice and pasta are substituted with the ever-popular cauliflower rice, sold frozen or fresh in every market, to the actual flower being thick sliced, roasted and presented as a “steak” in many establishments or slapped between a sandwich in place of a meat patty. Small roasted florets, when presented with flair are stupendous and a cauliflower mash to substitute taters is all the rage now. Aloo gobi is a phenomenal cauliflower and potato curried dish favored by vegans and vegetarians alike and often paired with the ubiquitous and trendy quinoa.
It’s time to give the cauliflower the applause it deserves for its versatility and its nutritional value – it’s packed with folate, vitamin K, C and B6. What’s not to love?
So get excited about walking down the produce isle. Now that the cauliflower has been given a makeover, it will never be a wallflower again. Make it a Meatless Monday or any day of the week for that matter, even carnivores will be stealing every last piece – so forget about leftovers!
RICED CAULIFLOWER AND LENTILS
This rendition is as simple as it gets packing a wallop of flavors from all the varied spices. If you don’t have a jar of garlic/ginger paste (and I suggest you get one) just use 1 TBSP of shredded ginger and 2 large, finely chopped garlic cloves. Gourmet Garden has ready made tubes of ginger, garlic and lemongrass paste, which makes for an effortless preparation. The addition of the lime zest adds added freshness and tremendous vibrancy to the dish. And for additional decadence, toasted pine nuts.
1 cup of cooked lentils
1 bag of frozen or fresh cauliflower rice
½ sweet onion – chopped
1 cup of carrot matchsticks
½ large zucchini – cut into small cubes
1 TBSP of garlic/ginger paste
2 TBSP dark sweet soy sauce
½ TSP turmeric
½ TSP ground coriander
¼ TSP ground cardamom
½ TSP allspice
½ TSP Aleppo pepper or red chili flakes
Zest of 1 lime
3-4 lime wedges
¼ cup of toasted pine nuts (optional)
1 cup of fresh chopped cilantro
Soak the lentils for about 4-5 hours. Drain and place them in a sauce pan covered with low sodium chicken stock, (about 2 cups) a bay leaf and a few cloves of smashed garlic. Cook them till tender but still a little firm, over very low fire, covered. Drain them, remove the bay leaf and set aside.
In a deep skillet, add some olive oil and sauté the onion for about 2/3 minutes. Add the garlic/ginger paste and cook for a few minutes more. Add the dry spices and cook till aromatic – about 1 minute over low/medium flame.
Add the cauliflower rice and blend with all the ingredients. Incorporate the zucchini, the carrots and the lentils. Add about ¼ cup of chicken stock and a fresh bay leaf and simmer on low till the liquid has absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add half of the cilantro and the lime zest.
Serve with lime wedges, toasted pine nuts and fresh cilantro.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH ISRAELI COUSCOUS
PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F
½ head of each – white cauliflower and purple cauliflower
½ cup of Israeli pearl couscous
2 shallots – finely chopped
¼ cup EVOO
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TSP fish sauce
1 TSP honey
½ TSP sweet Spanish paprika
1 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
In some water or low sodium chicken stock, cook the couscous according to the package instructions. Set aside
Prepare the cauliflower florets and place them in a roasting pan. Salt and pepper them well, drizzle with a good amount of EVOO and a bit of garlic powder and toss to evenly coat them. Roast, tossing occasionally for about 35-40 minutes till almost tender.
In a large kitchen bowl, whisk together about 2 TBSP of EVOO, the paprika, soy, fish sauce, honey and balsamic. Taste for seasonings and add some salt and pepper. Add the roasted cauliflower, the couscous and toss carefully with the vinaigrette. Place the florets in a serving bowl with some microgreens.
MEDITERRANEAN ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
Three words sum this – stellar side dish.
PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F
1 head of cauliflower – florets pulled apart
1 TSP Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
1 TSP kosher salt
1 TSP no salt lemon pepper
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 lemon cut into slices
1 TSP oregano
1 TSP thyme
1 TSP herbs de Provence
1 head of garlic – cloves separated and left whole with their skins
4-5 shallots – peeled and cut into quarters
In a small kitchen bowl whisk together the EVOO, thyme, oregano, herbs de Provence, Aleppo pepper, no salt lemon pepper, balsamic vinegar and salt.
Prepare the cauliflower florets. In a large bowl, add the florets, garlic, shallots and toss well with the dressing. To coat. Place them in a roasting pan or cookie sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally for about 45 minutes till almost tender. While hot from the oven, add a handful of baby spinach for color.
There are a few simple tricks to make excellent tempura batter. Yes, this rendition is fried, but if you follow these simple steps, these pillowy, fluffy, morsels of heaven will win you the accolades of the century.
Sift the flour into a bowl and the it will be easier to incorporate into the batter
Use ICED water only. Preferable filtered and not tap water
Don’t use a whisk to mix the ingredients.By using chopsticks to mix the ingredients, it will reduce air and risk of over-mixing it
The oil should be very hot – reaching a temperature of 375F. The cold batter and the hot oil will produce exceptional results.
The batter and the mixing shouldn’t be prepared ahead of time. As the results will not be good and the florets will come out greasy.
Drop each floret into the oil preferable with some chopsticks
Use a large spider colander to remove them from the oil when ready
1 head of cauliflower – florets separated
1 cup of APF – sifted
1 large egg
1 cup of cold water
Sift flour into a small bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the egg with some chopsticks. Remove the ice cubes from the water and add the ice-cold water to the beaten egg. Add the flour and beat with chopsticks to emulsify.
Heat up the oil in a large Dutch oven and follow the above instructions. Before frying make the dipping sauces.
1 cup of cup Indian aioli*add 1 TSP of Madras curry powder to the aioli when making it
1 cup of prepared soy sauce – 1 TSP dark and sweet soy, 1 TBSP lemon juice, 1 TSP chili oil, ½ TSP sesame oil together.