Tuesday, October 31, 2006

roasted cauliflower

i have always loved cauliflower.

Cauliflower probably originated in Asia Minor, but was available almost exclusively in Italy until the 16th century when it was introduced to France and eventually to other areas of Europe. It was first grown in North America in the late 1600s.

Cauliflower is native to the Mediterranean and Middle East region and has been cultivated from at least 600 BC. It moved to England from Cyprus and was therefore known as Cyprus coleworts.

*Mark Twain said that cauliflower was "cabbage with a college education," and, indeed, it is a member of the cabbage family.

*The cauliflower head itself is a degenerate, sterile flowering structure whose buds are kept white by carefully covering them to prevent the formation of chlorophyll that sunlight would cause. Those "gourmet" green heads you see in fancy supermarkets? The product of lazy gardeners. Purple and green varieties, however, are especially popular in Italy. [*source: hungrymonster.com]

i have also always loved recipes which use this big, snowy white vegetable — or more acurately, flower head. and what could be better, if not easier, than roasting it using only 3 or 4 ingredients? the results are incredible. it caramelizes in the oven slowly and softens yet it remains firm enough to be pleasing to one's palate.

i often make it this way [among other ways which i will write about another time]. the variations are endless. this post, all i am making it with is simply oil, salt, pepper & a few fresh garlic cloves.

simple roasted cauliflower

1 medium to large head of cauliflower
2 -3 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp black pepper
3 large cloves of garlic [optional]

wash cauliflower and separate into florets. if the florets are very large, cut them. you want equal sized florets so they cook evenly and at the same approximate time.

wash the florets and let them drain well in a colander. i set them out on a tea towel to dry for an hour or so. water acts as a barrier and impedes the oil from successfully clinging to the vegetable.

prepare a large baking sheet with tin foil. preheat oven to 400 F.

chopped the garlic roughly and place it in a large bowl that will hold the cauliflower. add the oil and seasonings and mix well to sort of make a dressing. add the cauliflower and then with hands or a large spoon, mix well.

spread this mixture evenly on the baking sheet.

bake until well roasted. redistribute them half way through cooking time, about 40 minutes into cooking. the cauliflower will have released juices at this point. after turning each piece, return it to the oven to cook for another 20 to 25 minutes or until sufficiently browned.

and from foodreference.com:

Cauliflower should be stored at 35 degrees F with the leaves still on and good air circulation. With the leaves they will last 2 weeks, without the leaves only a few days.

Those with thyroid problems should avoid eating large amounts of cabbage or cauliflower. They both interfere with the body's absorption of iodine, needed by the thyroid gland.

Cauliflower may turn yellow in alkaline water. For whiter cauliflower, add a tablespoon of milk or lemon juice to the water. Do not cook cauliflower in an aluminum or iron pot. The chemical compounds in cauliflower will react with the aluminum and turn the vegetable yellow. While in an iron pot, it will turn a brown or blue-green color.

Stir cooked cauliflower into mashed potatoes to enhance their texture.

Cauliflower can be substituted for broccoli in many dishes.

Cauliflower can also add a zest to your favorite tossed salad.

Use chopped florets in place of meatballs as an addition to your favorite pasta sauce for a delightful vegetarian pasta dish.

Add fresh or leftover cauliflower to soups or stews.

Raw florets make a crunchy, nutritious appetizer with low-fat dressing or dip.

The white, edible portion of cauliflower is called the curd.


chanit said...

I like it simple !
מאוד אוהבת כ ר ו ב י ת

burekaboy — said...

ירק טרי ומאוד בריא,

תודה על ההערה