THE VER­SA­TILE CAULIFLOWER GAIN­ING IN POP­U­LAR­ITY

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Good Life In Happy Valley - BY AL­I­SON RO­MAN

Cauliflower seems to be ev­ery­where th­ese days, more than of­fi­cially qual­i­fy­ing for “it” veg­etable sta­tus (an out­ra­geous sen­tence, but here we are).

Prized for its chameleon­like na­ture, cauliflower is able to be­come nearly any­thing. It can be roasted whole and served like a chicken, pressed into a pan for pizza crust, pul­ver­ized into rice or puréed to be­come a soup so vel­vety you’d swear it was at least half heavy cream.

It’s also a kind of poster child for a cer­tain type of veg­e­tar­ian-pa­leo-ve­gan--

gluten-free life­style. (Veg­e­tar­i­ans re­joice: Buf­falo cauliflower is very much a thing.) But om­ni­vores tend to over­look it in fa­vor of other bras­si­cas such as broc­coli or kale.

No longer! Cauliflower can be just as ex­cit­ing as any­thing loaded with chloro­phyll.

Steamed, it’s a blank can­vas, tak­ing kindly to tart lemon juice, loads of olive oil or browned but­ter, chopped crunchy nuts and a gen­er­ous grat­ing of hard, salty cheese.

Sautéing it with aro­mat­ics is a quick way to lightly caramelize tiny flo­rets, bring­ing out their cru­cif­er­ous fla­vor.

Roasted, cauliflower com­pletely trans­forms in fla­vor and tex­ture, from raw to soft and ten­der, to deeply caramelized, crisp and al­most sweet. And in a gratin, sim­mered in heavy cream un­til the flo­rets caramelize at the edges, the top bub­bles and crisps – well, it’s truly spec­tac­u­lar.

Maybe its pop­u­lar­ity isn’t so out­ra­geous af­ter all.

KARSTEN MO­RAN New York Times

Cauliflower gratin with leeks and white ched­dar

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