Try roasting cauliflower for a change
It's easier than you think
through the fall
June is when cauliflower becomes more widely available in Canada. It's a vegetable with so much potential - it has a pleasant smooth texture but lacks some kick.
And sure, I've had melted cheese on it - since the '70s. Blah.
Not wanting to drench it in cheese again this summer, I looked for an entirely new way to enjoy it. Finally, in the Early Summer 2012 edition of Food & Drink magazine I found it (on page 62): a recipe for roasted coriander cauliflower.
What's great about this recipe is how quickly it can be prepared - there's no scrubbing or peeling and no constant stirring (unless you opt for the barbecue method). If you love the taste of coriander, this is definitely a recipe you'll enjoy. I tweaked the original recipe (adding far less salt) you'll understand why further along.
PC shows two ways to cut cauliflower
Florets crumble off less with the second method:
What about the different types?
There are four colours
White, Orange, Purple, and Green
By far the most common type is white cauliflower and I choose it predominantly because I find it easiest to identify as fresh. As cauliflower ages, the florets start to turn brown (hard to see on the orange and purple varieties).
I have not tried green cauliflower; there's something about that green colour that makes me wonder if it's not quite ready to eat.
Wonder if they taste different?
Purple cauliflower is considered sweeter, milder, and nuttier tasting than white cauliflower. It's also purportedly "less bitter" tasting than some varieties of white cauliflower. Kids seem to love the cool colour too.
What's more, its purple colour comes from anthocyanin (a type of flavonoid), which may help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting.
Orange cauliflower has a fascinating history. In 1970, it was discovered among white cauliflower in a Canadian farmer's field. It was considered a mutant (not surprising, I know a few Canadian freaks of nature) and was shipped to Cornell University for further study.
Turns out, orange cauliflower contains extra beta-carotene (a whole 25 percent more vitamin A than white cauliflower).
How does it taste? When in season (during the fall months), I occasionally buy the orange kind. It's sweeter and creamier than white cauliflower - but not by much. If I were blindfolded, I'm not sure I could tell the difference.
Green cauliflower (aka broccoflower)
Cauliflower and broccoli produce a cool fractal
After cutting up cauliflower florets
Do that salt water soak just in case
Ever since I can remember, I've always soaked broccoli and cauliflower in cold salted water (for up to an hour or even overnight). Numerous sources state that it forces out any worms or bugs that may be inside the head. Hmmm, should soak my own head sometime.
Yet I was surprised to find a USDA government site recommending that cauliflower (and similar vegetables that cannot be scrubbed) only be "immersed in cold water and shaken to remove dirt, then rinsed under cold tap water before cooking or eating raw."
Since the original recipe called for 3/4 tsp. of salt, I decided to omit it. I soak my florets in salt water which I think causes them to absorb a little salt.
Bugs that get on or inside cauliflower
A common one is the cabbage worm (although there are others).
Cabbage worms enjoy more than cabbage, unfortunately. They can be found on (or inside) cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, collards, radishes, rutabagas, turnips and turnip greens.
I prefer to cut up my cauliflower head prior to soaking it in salt water, since the florets are tightly packed on the head - and I'm not sure the worms can find their way out otherwise.
What do cabbage worms or their eggs look like?
Worms are light green and almost perfectly match the colour of leaves on many vegetables. It's hard to spot them. Their eggs are light yellow (almost the colour of cauliflower florets). And when they lay eggs, of course, they do so on the underside of leaves.
I wish cabbage worms were easier to spot
Like this guy, a saddleback caterpillar
Purple and Orange Cauliflower
Some scientists believe they are healthier
Roasted Cauliflower with Coriander
Serves: 6 - 8 | Prep: 13 mins | Total: 38 mins
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