Cauliflower is in season, and it’s cheap. So, I’ve been eating a lot of it.
I’m almost always surprised, though, at how versatile it is.
When I was growing up, cauliflower was only served two ways: raw with other vegetables or steamed with a little butter or cheese on it. Both are great, but why stop there?
For those of us watching our carbohydrate intake, mashed cauliflower is a great alternative to mashed potatoes, with only 5 grams per serving and 3 grams of dietary fiber. Steam the cauliflower until it’s soft, then add it to a mixer with butter, salt, milk or whatever you like in your mashed potatoes — outside of the potatoes, that is. Don’t forget some roasted garlic or Parmesan cheese for added flavor.
Then there are Cauliflower Steaks that you can flavor how you choose, including your favorite steak seasoning. It’s an excellent vegan main course, if you’re looking to give up meat during a meal or two. All you have to do is cut the head in half, then cut your steaks from the center of each half. Use the rest of the head in a soup or roast it in the oven.
One option for the latter comes from Michael Schwartz’s new cookbook, “Michael’s Genuine Food: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat” (Clarkson Potter, $35), written with Joann Cianciulli: Roasted Cauliflower with Parsley Sauce.
“Cauliflower can be a little bland on its own,” Schwartz writes, “but blasting the florets in a hot oven concentrates their natural sweetness and transforms the lily-white vegetable to a crisp caramel-brown. Tossing the roasted cauliflower with emerald green parsley sauce brightens the charred flavor. This is a universal side that goes with everything.”
Cauliflower belongs the vegetable family that includes cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and greens, such as kale and collards. In addition to its lively flavor, cauliflower is also good for you. According to nutritiondata.self.com, a single serving has only 25 calories and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. “It is also a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium and manganese.”
By the way, don’t throw away those leaves that enfold themselves about the cauliflower head, like some sort of natural Caesar’s wreath. They can be used in soup stocks.
SavorSA has run several cauliflower recipes in the past, from soup to snacks. Here are two worth cooking up, depending on how you want to use this wonderful vegetable: