Seems like it has become the flavour of the moment... thanks Ottolenghi perhaps? That said it is delicious and deserving of wide use. Cauliflower is a vegetable that I associated with just two dishes, simple boiled and tossed with some butter or in the occasionally mucked up, baked Cauliflower Cheese.
My Mother was a cook who was taught that no vegetable should be lightly cooked, consequently the water that cooked the vegetables held all the taste and goodness and was sent down the sink. Her cauliflower cheese was by any standards, mushy. On the other hand, there have been some that I have eaten where the cauliflower was undercooked and that does not work either. The BBC food log, usually quite reliable, suggests..
- 1. Place a pot of well salted water and bring it to the boil.
- 2. When boiling place in the segmented cauliflower (broken into florets).
- 3. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes and then drain.
Not in my mothers case, cook for 20 + minutes.
The Cheese sauce, is as follows
40 grams butter
40 grams plain flour
400 mil milk
1 tspn English Mustard powder
100 grams mature cheddar cheese
Melt the butter, stir in the flour, add the milk (gradually or in my case all at once and whisk well), add the mustard and cheese, continue stirring until cheese is melted, season with salt and pepper.
Place cooked cauliflower in a dish with 5 cm high sides, top with the cheese sauce, scatter some good breadcrumbs, dot with some butter (not too much) and scatter some bacon pieces on, if liked.
Bake for 25 - 30 in 190 c oven.
Back to the roasted version. Slice the cauliflower in wedges of about 1.5 cm thick, place on a well oiled tray, brush with more EVOil and scatter some cumin powder, salt and pepper, place in a 190 c oven and roast until the top is browning, turn the wedges (some call them steaks) and cook until the underside is also browned, pour just a little EVO onto the underside. Cook till browned and they have some slightly burned bits.
Meanwhile, you need to decide what the next step will be.
- 1. Tahini with Pomegranate seeds, caramelised Onion and Parsley.
- 2. Blue Cheese with Caramelised Walnuts.
- 3. Hummus with Yoghurt and parsley with a squeeze of Lemon.
A dressing that I like is:
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons mustard (Dijon)
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed with the salt
2 tablespoons of EV Oil.
Crush the garlic with your knife blade with the salt, add to mortar, with the rest of your ingredients, with the pestle, blnd to a smooth paste.
The use of Caramelised nuts (walnuts is the most common, but Hazelnuts, Almonds, Pistachios and Cashews are also great) is often suggested to accompany. This is for 1/2 cup.
1/2 cup whole roasted walnuts
2 heaped teaspoons white sugar
Use a small heavy based saucepan, melt the sugar until it starts to go golden, this happens all of a sudden, so keep an eye on it. Cook the sugar a little more until it starts to brown... not too much or it will go bitter. Remove from the heat, pour in the walnuts and toss well to coat all, pour out onto a sheet of baking papper, with a skewer, separate and allow to harden.
There are many ways to use roasted cauliflower, be creative and devise your own.