Try roasting cauliflower for a change

It's easier than you think

Roasted Cauliflower
Credit: Rooey202 on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (crop and background colour tweaks added by me, RoseWrites on InfoBarrel)

Available June

through the fall

June is when cauliflower becomes more widely available in Canada.[1][2] 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.[3]

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?

Credit: La Grande Farmers' Market on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

There are four colours

White, Orange, Purple, and Green

By far the most common type is white cauliflower[4] 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.[5] 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.[8]

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[7] (not surprising, I know a few Canadian freaks of nature) and was shipped to Cornell University for further study.[6]

Turns out, orange cauliflower contains extra beta-carotene (a whole 25 percent more vitamin A than white cauliflower).[7][8]

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[7] - 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

Mathematics is the language of nature
Credit: David Fisher (dnfisher on flickr) / Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic

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[10][11][12] 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."[13]

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).[14]

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.[15] 

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.[16]

I wish cabbage worms were easier to spot

Like this guy, a saddleback caterpillar

Acharia stimulea Clemens, 1960 (saddleback caterpillar)
Credit: Gerald J. Lenhard, Louiana State Univ / © / CC-BY-3.0-US (Source: Wikipedia)

Purple and Orange Cauliflower

Some scientists believe they are healthier

Purple and orange cauliflower ready for roasting
Credit: Neeta Lind on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic

Roasted Cauliflower with Coriander

Serves: 6 - 8 | Prep: 13 mins | Total: 38 mins


1 large (or 2 small heads) of cauliflower (you need 8 to 10 cups worth of florets)
3 tbsp. high quality olive oil (using 2 tbsp. first)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tbsp. ground coriander seed
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (an average-sized lemon yields 2 - 3 tbsp. of juice)
2 - 3 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Optional: sea salt to taste
Core and cut up cauliflower florets into 2-inch pieces. Soak in cold, salted water overnight (or about an hour). Drain and rinse florets with cold tap water and place in a colander to drip dry.
Adjust oven racks, if necessary, to ensure florets will roast in the center of your oven and preheat to 450 F (230 C). Or, fire up your barbecue.
Dab dry cauliflower with paper towel (if need be) and place in a large, clean bowl. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp. olive oil with minced garlic and drizzle over florets. Gently toss to evenly coat each piece.
In a small bowl, combine coriander seed, sea salt, and pepper together. Sprinkle evenly over the oiled cauliflower florets, turning pieces as needed.
On an ungreased cookie sheet (or in a vegetable tray for your barbecue), spread out florets in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes (or until pieces look slightly toasted). They should be tender when pierced with a fork. NOTE: If using a vegetable tray or basket on the barbecue, you'll need turn florets often.
Lastly, scoop roasted cauliflower into a warm serving bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and leftover olive oil (about 1 tbsp.). Sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and enjoy.

Weber Style Professional-Grade Grill Pan

Weber Style 6435 Professional-Grade Grill Pan RoseWrites 2014-05-06 4.5 0 5

Weber Stainless Steel Grill Pan

Weber Style 6435 Professional-Grade Grill Pan
Amazon Price: $22.99 $17.99 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 3, 2016)
Here's why I like this pan, it provides more surface area than baskets. Weber is the brand I trust for barbecues and barbecue accessories. I prefer professional-grade pans since they last much longer and only cost a bit more than commercial-grade products. This grill pan is made of 430-grade stainless steel and has wide carrying handles. If you plan on roasting cauliflower on your barbecue, this pan is ideal since the 1/8th inch slits prevents floret pieces from falling into your grill pit.

The grill pan takes up half the Weber S-310

Weber Style Professional Grade Grill Pan shown on the Weber S-310
Credit: Amazon customer image uploaded by E. Barr Jr. "Chryslerfan"