THE VERSATILE CAULIFLOWER GAINING IN POPULARITY
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.
Cauliflower gratin with leeks and white cheddar