a recipe for delicious living
(October 12, 2006)
There are a few of ways to cook cauliflower.
First, get the vegetable ready: If planning to cut the cauliflower into flowerettes, first rinse and dry the head. Remove any discolored parts (a vegetable peeler works well). Peel off and discard any green leaves from the bottom of the head. Then, turn the head over, core side up, and use a knife to cut the core out. Discard the core. Keeping the head in the same position, use the knife to release the flowerettes, allowing 1 to 1 ½ inches of the stalk to remain attached. Use the knife to cut any large clusters into smaller ones.
If looking to get your preparation started early in the day (or as much as two days ahead) you can blanch the cauliflower flowerettes in boiling salted water, uncovered, for about 3 minutes. Then, you'd drain the vegetables and immediately plunge them into a large bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking process. Then, once cold, you'd drain the cauliflower and blot the pieces dry with paper towels. At this point, you can pile the parboiled vegetable into a heavy-duty freezer bag and stick it in the fridge for up to two days (I usually line the bag with some paper towels to absorb any lingering moisture.) Then, all you do is give the blanched cauliflower a quick sauté in some hot extra-virgin olive oil, with some minced garlic, salt and pepper. Then, when piping hot throughout, you'll toss in some chopped chives or flat-leaf Italian parsley.
You can also parboil a head of cauliflower whole. Blanch the trimmed head in boiling salted water, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes. Then refresh it, as described above. This is wonderful, when covered in a Mornay sauce, sprinkled with breadcrumbs and baked until the head is totally tender, the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are golden (a recipe for this will be coming soon!).
Regardless of the color, this is way I usually cook fresh cauliflower. I sear the raw flowerettes in melted, slightly browned butter along with some caramelized onions. Then, once the cauliflower is turning golden, I add a bit of stock, cover the pan and turn the heat down low and simmer…Oh, OK, OK, here's the official recipe for my Sautéed Cauliflower with Caramelized Onions.
Cauliflower, Sautéed with Caramelized Onions...and Braised in Stock
Yield: serves 4 to 6
Cauliflower has a real affinity for onions. And, when cooked together in some browned butter, this side dish is a real winner. Please, don't be put off by the optional addition of mashed anchovies since they add a subtle, yet savory, taste dimension. If desired, the butter in this dish can be totally replaced by extra-virgin olive oil. To make this dish even more substantial, toss it with some freshly cooked bow-tie pasta, tossed in a skillet with some hot extra-virgin olive oil, some hot red pepper flakes and chopped garlic.
1) To cook the onions: Melt 3 tablespoons
of the butter in a 12-inch, heavy-bottomed, deep-sided skillet, over medium
heat and, when hot and bubbling, turn the heat to low and let the milk
solid in the butter turn light golden, stirring occasionally. Stir the
onions into the butter and turn the heat up to medium-high and let the
onions cook, stirring occasionally, until they become softened and fragrant,
about 5 minutes. Stir in the anchovies, if using, and continue to cook
the onions until they become light golden, about 5 more minutes.
Timing is Everything
Lauren Groveman recipes have been featured in many national magazines and local newspapers. Her books "The I love to Cook Book: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends" and "Lauren Groveman's Kitchen, Nurturing Food for Family and Friends" are available through Amazon.com. Lauren hosts an hour-long, "live" weekly radio show, Food Family & Home "Matters," on 1460 WVOX.
For in depth information on Lauren Groveman as a writer, teacher, TV & radio host, as well as her recipes and cooking tips visit her website at www.laurengroveman.com
Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and blessed with three wonderful children.