Delicious cauliflower recipes: don't just say cheese

Date:25-01-2014 08:58:24 read:2

Delicious cauliflower recipes: don't just say cheese

Cauliflower is an unsung brassica that is a perfect blank canvas for imaginative dishes. Here are four favourites

Cauliflower power: aloo gobi Photo: Andrew Crowley

Admit it. Just like me, you always walk past the cauliflower and pick up its green neighbours. The cauliflower is beautiful to look at, but our brains equate white food with blandness. Not unfairly, because the cauli has a subtle flavour that turns into a soggy mush if overcooked or under-seasoned – like most brassicas. But if you cook it for just a couple of moments and give it the right amount of seasoning, it really comes out of itself. It relies on other strong ingredients to perform, but happily it’s not picky about what those are: chilli, anchovies, parsley, hazelnuts, raisins – it gets on with everything. More than any other vegetable, it really soaks up and takes on the flavours around it. It is cookery’s ultimate blank canvas.

And for such an unsung vegetable, the cauliflower is surprisingly well-travelled. We British may struggle to name more than one cauliflower dish (but what a perfect dish!), yet it is used in all sorts of ways across the globe, from India to Italy and the Middle East.

My aloo gobi is one of the easiest, quickest vegetable curries out there. Just throw in the spices, then the vegetables and leave it to look after itself. It’s incredibly appealing to look at, and my children love the vivid yellow.

The Sicilian cauli dish is related to pasta con le sarde, a classic dish with sardines that features similar ingredients. The sultanas add sweetness, while the vinegar adds a sour note and the saffron adds fragrance.

I couldn’t write about cauli without featuring its most famous incarnation. Cauliflower cheese is an absolutely glorious dish. As a boy I could hardly believe my luck when my mum told that this delicious creation was vegetables. I have really speeded it up here, cutting out the milk infusion and the white sauce stirring. You’ll hardly notice the difference. I have also strewn the top with a few anchovies to give your taste buds an extra tickle, but do leave them out if you wish.

The dish I’m most proud of is this simple raw cauliflower recipe. Brassicas have this amazing nutty flavour that is slightly lost when cooked. Just tossing the cauliflower in a little good oil, lemon and salt really showcases it.


Cauliflower recipes: Raw cauliflower salad with hazelnuts and Parmesan

Cauliflower recipes: Quick cauliflower cheese with a fishy twist

Cauliflower recipes: Cauliflower, saffron, sultanas and pine nuts with grilled fish

Cauliflower recipes: Aloo gobi

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