I love cauliflower. There I said it.
It might not be cool, but it’s true. It might make me fart, but it’s tasty. It might make an annoying, tiny, white, crumbly mess when being chopped, but it looks pretty. It might smell like somebody’s bottom but it’s versatile. It might be seriously underrated, but I’m on the cauliflower bandwagon.
And I know I’m not alone. There are others who agree that cauliflower is the best, most, under-rated vegetable on offer. Fans of the fluffy, white brassica, will happily sing its praises. And sing with the after-effects too, if you know what I mean…
During the big move week, I made several trips between Sydney and Orange (there’s only so much stuff one can move in one load, in a Barina…) and on the final inbound trip, I stopped at a roadside stall outside of Bathurst and stocked up on local fruit and veg. Including of course, a beautiful, fat cauliflower.
NB: this is not the cauliflower I bought, because I was actually so in awe of it’s fluffy, white beauty that I forgot to photograph it. So this is actually just a random google cauliflower. But I assure you, mine looked very much like this!
So with cauliflower in hand and a new kitchen at my disposal and a craving for a meat and three veg dinner, I cooked my first dinner in my new home. I think my new housemate thought I was completely mad when I served up the random combination of rissoles with a pan-fried cauliflower and steamed bean salad.
The pan-fried cauliflower is super easy. It’s a hangover from my year Cooking with Jamie – throw the floret’s in a hot pan with a little bit of oil (olive or vegetable), salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Toss till the cauli starts to brown, then remove from heat and squeeze some lemon juice over. The cauli should still be crunchy. It’s delicious just like this, but I tossed in some steamed green beans and sprinkling of parsley for colour.
With the second half of my cauli, I whipped up a risotto. Again inspired by my time with Mr O, I sautéed a finely chopped leek and brown onion in butter AND oil, then added rice, stirring til translucent. I then added and burned off some white wine, then slowly added chicken stock , half a cup at a time. About half way through the rice cooking period *read as: the RSI developmental stages, when the constant stirring really states to grate…*, I added the cauliflower, chopped into small florets (if you like the crunch, throw in the stalks as well – yum!) and a handful of quickly pan-fried pancetta plus checked for S&P seasoning. Once the rice is almost at the ready point (it should still have the tiniest inkling to wanna get stuck in your teeth), take the pan off the heat, add an unhealthy chunk of butter (do not feel guilty!), a big squeeze of lemon and a handful of freshly grated parmesan, put the lid on the pan and let these last three additions work their magic for a few minutes. Remove the lid, stir gently and serve. I served mine with a parmesan pangratatto (pan fried breadcrumbs, tossed with S&P & grated parmesan).
Now come on, it might be farty, but if these two examples of how easy it is to use cauliflower, in very different ways, with very different flavours, haven’t convinced you that it is in fact the best, most under-rated vegetable in the world, then I’d simply say, you’re a crazy person. But hey, that’s only one person’s opinion…
Go on, give Big Col a try while he’s still in season.