Raw cauliflower is a great snack, but this tasty vegetable also makes a delectable side dishes and soups. Here are a few tips for preparing and cooking cauliflower.
First, trim the outer leaves and separate the head into florets. If you find florets that have started to turn brown at the edges, trim off these areas.
You can also cook the cauliflower whole, which looks lovely on the table. However, this method takes longer to cook than the florets, thus more nutrients may be lost. To cook the head whole, remove the base of the core by cutting around the stem with a small knife. This step allows for faster, more even cooking.
Rinse the cauliflower thoroughly before cooking. If possible, try to avoid cooking cauliflower in an aluminum or iron pot. When the chemical compounds in cauliflower come into contact with aluminum they turn the vegetable yellow. An iron pot turns cauliflower brown or blue-green. To preserve its white color and to prevent cauliflower from turning a different color, add a tablespoon of lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar to the cooking water.
Like broccoli, cauliflower contains plant acids that form sulfur compounds as the vegetable is heated, and the odors become more intense the longer the cauliflower cooks. Rapid cooking reduces the odors, and reduces the loss of nutrients.
8 ways to serve cauliflower
1. Toss cauliflower florets with a bit of olive oil and several cloves of unpeeled garlic. Roast, uncovered, in a 375° oven until golden brown and tender.
2. Combine cooked cauliflower or broccoflower with mashed potatoes. Add milk and heat for a quick soup.
3. Mash cauliflower with some milk, roasted garlic and a touch of butter as an alternative to mashed potatoes.
4. Season steamed cauliflower with lemon and chopped olives. Or toss with chopped fresh parsley, chives, or toasted almonds.
5. Cut a head of cauliflower into thick slabs, and roast until caramelized. Serve with a garlic-herb sauce.
6. Make cauliflower cakes. Bake cauliflower, potato wedges, and shallots. When tender, mix in a food processor, adding thyme, salt, pepper, and egg, and a half-cup of mild cheese. Form into patties, coat with breadcrumbs, and sauté.
7. Add cooked cauliflower or broccoflower to macaroni and cheese.
8. Add chopped cauliflower florets to pasta sauces.
See this recipe: Radiatore with Cauliflower.