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TIP OF THE DAY: Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Yesterday, Meatless Monday, we went one step beyond the meaty cauliflower steaks and cabbage steaks we’ve become so fond of.

We remembered a recipe from Frieda’s Specialty Produce that we had tucked away in anticipation of the glorious fall cauliflower harvest.

We love farmers market cauliflower. Not only is it fresher, but you can find the splendid colors of purple, orange and pale green, as well as the exotic-looking, lime green romanesco (bottom photo). Whatever you choose, look for a dense head with a thick center stem.

Roasting a whole cauliflower is simple; you just have to allow 90 minutes for it to roast. To see just how easy it is, check out this video from Frieda’s.

“The crispy, nutty crust and sweet, tender core are the stuff dreams are made of,” they aver (and we agree).
 
RECIPE: WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

Ingredients

  • 1 whole cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed to sit flat, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt or seasoned salt
  • Optional: fresh-ground pepper
  • Optional: chutney, herb butter, olive relish, pesto or sauce of choice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Place the cauliflower on a plate and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, using your hands to coat the cauliflower all over.

    2. SEASON all over with salt and transfer the cauliflower to a small roasting pan or cast iron skillet, floret-side up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

    3. BAKE for 30 minutes; remove the foil and roast 1 hour until the florets are golden (larger heads can take longer). Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

    4. SLICE as desired: in wedges (our preference) or vertical, in 3/4- to 1-inch slices. You can also cut the cauliflower into individual florets, but why spend the time?
     
    FLAVOR VARIATIONS

    Use your favorite international flavors as seasonings and sauces. Here are some simple replacements:

  • Chinese seasonings: Eliminate the salt, brush with soy sauce instead of lemon juice, top with minced garlic; garnish with fresh chives. A dab of hoisin sauce? Why not!
  • Indian seasonings: Season with ground cumin, coriander and optional curry powder instead of salt and pepper; garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with raita or other yogurt sauce.
  • Italian seasonings #1: Use garlic-flavored olive oil and top the cauliflower with minced garlic before roasting. Place the slice atop pesto, or marinara sauce seasoned with oregano. Garnish with sliced black olives.
  • Italian seasonings #2: After roasting, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  • Japanese seasonings: Use 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 toasted sesame oil or wasabi oil, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds, grated fresh ginger and/or fresh chives. Serve with ponzu sauce.
  • Mexican seasonings: Replace the lemon juice with lime juice and sprinkle with lime zest and red chile flakes. Serve on a bed of black beans or pinto beans and top with warmed salsa. Garnish with cilantro and optional crumbled queso fresco.
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    LOVE YOUR BRASSICAS

    The plant genus of cruciferous vegetables, Brassica, contains nutritional powerhouses that are packed with potent, cancer-fighting phytonutrients (antioxidants). It’s easy to eat a cup or more daily from the long list below.

      Roasted Cauliflower

    Roast Cauliflower

    Purple Roast Cauliflower

    Romanesco Cauliflower
    [1] A tricolor roasted cauliflower feast (photo courtesy San Francisco Chronicle). Here’s the recipe, which includes garlic breadcrumbs and fennel-olive relish. [2] Roast cauliflower Indian style, with a rich Mughlai sauce of tomato, cashew nuts, milk, cream and butter. Here’s the recipe from VeganRicha.com. [3] This cauliflower is garnished with a mint-parsley sauce. Here’s the recipe from SproutedRoots.com.[4] You can do the same with an exotic romanesco, often called romanesco cauliflower but it’s actually its own cultivar (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

     
    There are more than 30 wild species of Brassica, plus numerous cultivars* and hybrids of cultivated origin. The best-known Brassica members include:

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Horseradish/wasabi
  • Kai-lan/gai-lan (often called Chinese broccoli in the U.S.)
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard greens
  • Radish
  • Rapeseed/canola
  • Rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • Romanesco
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
  •  
    Eat up!
     
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    *A cultivar is a plant variety that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding.
      




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