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Classic vegetable dishes: Cauliflower

Updated: Nov 1, 2012 04:38 PM EDT
© Todd Coleman / Bonnier © Todd Coleman / Bonnier
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By Leah Koenig


In the early 1900s, cauliflower was just coming into its own as a profitable market crop in this country. But today, cauliflower is a ubiquitous supermarket choice—familiar enough that it has even grown a bit mundane.

Perhaps that's why farmers in recent decades have begun to flaunt orange, purple, and the gorgeously fractal-spiraled Romanesco varieties along with the standard creamy white at the farmers' market.

Whatever the color, cauliflower is an unassuming powerhouse in the kitchen. Its mild flavor blends perfectly with a variety of ingredients, and adds texture and beauty to any dish.

The recipes below celebrate some of the best cauliflower dishes of this century—from crisp and briny marinated cauliflower to battered and fried fritters, saucy Indian aloo gobi, or tender and sweet roasted florets.

SERVED COLD

Cauliflower Salad
A simple marinade of olive oil and lemon juice transforms cauliflower, kalamata olives, and scallions into a briny and refreshing salad.

Pickled Cauliflower
Carrots and cauliflower are pickled with turmeric, coriander, and cumin seeds for a South Asian-style side.

Cucumber Wrapped Croutons with Cauliflower Mousseline and Lobster
Vibrant colors and contrasting textures create a decadent and beautiful hors d'oeuvre well worth the extra effort.

Muffuletta Sandwich
Cauliflower is just one of many savory vegetables piled onto this classic New Orleans sandwich.

SERVED WARM

Olive Oil Braised Vegetables
Cauliflower, along with zucchini, broccoli and other vegetables, are braised in garlic- and chile flake-infused oil.

Saffron Smothered Cauliflower
A traditional Sarinian preparation flavors roasted cauliflower with green olives and golden saffron.

Karfiolleves (Paprika Spiced Cauliflower Soup)
This Hungarian vegetable soup is swimming with softened cauliflower and spiked with hot paprika.

Aloo Gobi (Curried Cauliflower and Potatoes)
Caramelized onions and an abundance of spices bring a great depth of flavor to Indian curried cauliflower and potatoes.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce
Nutty tahini sauce is the perfect accompaniment to lightly caramelized roasted cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower with Black Olives and Bread Crumbs
Oil-cured black olives and toasted bread crumbs top oven-roasted cauliflower for a hearty, Italian-inspired side dish.

Indian-Chinese Sweet and Spicy Fried Cauliflower
Ginger, chiles, and cilantro all play supporting roles in this cross-cultural vegetable dish.

Cauliflower Fritters
Battered and fried cauliflower fritters are sprinkled with a bit of pecorino romano cheese.

Pasta with Cauliflower
Anchovies add extra depth to a cauliflower and tomato pasta sauce.

Curried Cauliflower with Tomatoes
Frying whole spices in traditional Indian fashio draws out their depth, yielding a warming and fragrant cauliflower preparation.

Cauliflower Soup with Potato Emulsion and Crozier Blue Cheese
This hearty and flavorful soup tastes like autumn in a bowl.




Leah Koenig is a freelance writer and author of The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook: Daily Meals for the Contemporary Jewish Kitchen

 

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