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The great cauliflower challenge!

 
 
msolga
 
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 08:44 am
OK, a challenge for you A2K cooks!:

Can anything vaguely exciting, tasty, brilliant even, be made from the humble cauli?

I ask because they're going cheap at my market & I don't think I've ever had a cauliflower dish to swoon over.

Have you?

I expect this to be a very quiet thread, but then, ya never know!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,600 • Replies: 37
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tin sword arthur
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 08:52 am
I like cauliflower, but I'd have to agree - I've never had it in a dish that knocked me flat with wonder.
Here is a page of cauliflower recipies from Whatscookingamerica.net that look interesting, though. Maybe one of these holds an incredible cauliflower recipie?
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 08:53 am
We used to make an earlier version of this Sirio Maccione/Le Cirque recipe, and it was quite good. The early version, printed in the NYTimes back in the dark ages (early eighties?) didn't involve artichokes or olives, that I remember anyway. I still have the recipe in a recipe binder, but those are still packed, so I can't double check. I think the key is to use real italian pancetta, and that is hard to come by around here.

http://www.recipezaar.com/159621

Le Cirque's Penne With Artichokes and Cauliflower Recipe #159621
This pasta, from Sirio Maccione of the legendary Le Cirque, is so rich yet really so simple to prepare. It can be an appetizer or a side, but I actually think that with wine and bread and a salad, it's a perfect meal. Most of the work is prep-ing the artichockes--once they're done, it's a piece of cake (so to speak).
3 medium artichokes
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/4 lb pancetta, sliced thin and cubed
3 cups cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon rosemary, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 cups canned crushed tomatoes, organic
1/4 cup oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb penne
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano cheese, freshly grated
6-8 servings Change size or US/metric
1 hour 1 hr prep
0 Replies
 
material girl
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 08:54 am
I had just tasted cauliflower cheese for the first time, which I loved, then I soon after worked out that Im intolerant to dairy, so that was the first and last time I had cauliflower cheese.
I still think of it as very tasty.

Other than that I cant help yuo.It hurts just too much to think about it.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 08:58 am
To finish the recipe... (and now I'm thinking maybe we just skipped the artichokes and olives)


To prepare the Artichokes:.
Cut of stems using a sharp knife to produce a neat, flat base.
As artichokes are cut, rub exposed surfaces with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
With your sharp paring knife, trim off the bottom two layers of leaves, being careful not to cut away the white part (bottom) underneath.
Trim any remaining green from around the base.
Lay the artichoke on its side and cut through, leaving about 1 and 1/2" from base to the trimmed top.
Turn the artichoke upside down and halve it.
Cut each half into four or five wedges and then remove and discard the fuzzy choke from the center of each wedge.
Your artichokes are now ready to be cooked, but if you are not going to cook them immediately, place them in a bowl and cover them with acidulated water (lemon juice and water).


To make the Recipe:.
Place the trimmed artichokes into a small saucepan and cover with water and the juice from half a lemon.
Bring to a boil, blanch for five minutes, drain and set aside.
Place the pancetta in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, drain and set aside.
Place the cauliflower florets into a large saucepan, cover with salted water, bring to a boil, cook five minutes (or less if florets are small--check--they should be crisp tender), drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the pancetta, and cook over medium heat for two minutes.
Add the artichokes and saute briefly.
Season with oregano and rosemary and cook five minutes.
Add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan and cook two minutes.
Add the olives, cauliflower and parsely and salt and pepper and cook five minutes.
Meanwhile cook the penne in boiling salted water until al dente and drain, reserving 1 and 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta in the pan with the sauce, then add the cooking liquid and cook for two minutes.
Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning, add the butter and the cheese and stir gently till melted and serve.



Hmmm, I doubt we ever boiled and blanched the pancetta..
0 Replies
 
tin sword arthur
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:03 am
Okay, I knew about white cauliflower http://hormel.com/kitchen/images/refimages/kitchen_advice/fruit_veg/cauliflower/cauliflower.jpg and broccoflower http://hormel.com/kitchen/images/refimages/kitchen_advice/fruit_veg/broccoli/broccoflower.jpg


But I never knew about these two!
http://hormel.com/kitchen/images/refimages/kitchen_advice/fruit_veg/cauliflower/cauliflower_purple.jpg http://hormel.com/kitchen/images/refimages/kitchen_advice/fruit_veg/cauliflower/cauliflower_orange.jpg
Could be an interesting way to color up some meals, though. At least make them more interesting if not tastier.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:03 am
Surprised

Wow, 3 responses!

What a surprise!

I might even be tempted to buy one tomorrow!

Thank you, tin_sword_arthur, mg & osso!

I'm now reading your recipes.

(too bad about your intolerance to dairy, mg. Sad )
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:07 am
material girl wrote:
I had just tasted cauliflower cheese for the first time, which I loved, then I soon after worked out that Im intolerant to dairy, so that was the first and last time I had cauliflower cheese.
I still think of it as very tasty.

Other than that I cant help yuo.It hurts just too much to think about it.


Cauliflower cheese is very nice, and if you use a strong cheese to make the sauce, it's better.

Sprinkle more cheese over and finish by browning under the grill. Very tasty.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:10 am
So, shortening this recipe to how I would routinely do it -

1/4 lb pancetta, sliced thin and cubed
3 cups cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon rosemary, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3 cups canned crushed tomatoes, organic
1/4 cup chopped black olives if you have them
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb penne
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano cheese, freshly grated


To make the Recipe:.
Place the cauliflower florets into a large saucepan, cover with salted water, bring to a boil, cook five minutes (or less if florets are small--check--they should be crisp tender), drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the pancetta, and cook over medium heat for two minutes.
Season with oregano and rosemary and cook five minutes.
Add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan and cook two minutes.
Add the olives, cauliflower and parsley and salt and pepper and cook five minutes.
Meanwhile cook the penne in boiling salted water until al dente and drain, reserving 1 and 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta in the pan with the sauce, then add the cooking liquid and cook for two minutes.
Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning, add the butter and the cheese and stir gently till melted and serve.



There, easier.
But --- what I remember of all those recipes printed in that NYTimes article about pasta dishes at Le Cirque was that every recipe turned out well - Maccione had a great sense of what flavors blend well. So, doing the full recipe with artichoke hearts and olives is likely even better than our old simplified version.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:10 am
Hmmm .....

(thinking: these folk actually eat the stuff! Maybe it's OK?)
0 Replies
 
tin sword arthur
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:13 am
A little addition to my mulit-colored cauliflower post.

Purple cauliflower - This variety of cauliflower has a purple colored curd rather than white as on regular cauliflower. It cooks faster than white cauliflower and has a little milder taste. When cooked, its color changes from purple to green. Purple cauliflower can be substituted for white in most recipes.

Orange cauliflower - An orange colored cauliflower that is a new variety that became available in some supermarkets and farmers' markets in the fall of 2003. It is very similar to regular white cauliflower in taste and appearance except it is bright orange in color. The first variety of orange cauliflower, which was smaller and not as flavorful, was discovered in Canada in 1970 but it took decades of crossbreeding to finally develop the variety that is now available. Because of its high content of beta-carotene, orange cauliflower's vitamin A content is approximately 25 times higher than white cauliflower. Its color and nutritional value are two characteristics that will make this a poplular vegetable choice.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:13 am
I've had some tasty cream of cauliflower soups at restaurants..
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:17 am
That last, shortened recipe looks good, osso! A question, though: fresh or dried herbs?
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:19 am
So as not to make this a complete tangent, I'll just post a link to Le Cirque's Spaghetti primavera recipe -
this is a terrific recipe, always comes out great. (Hah, no cauliflower, m'lady!)

http://www.recipezaar.com/159616
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:19 am
Well, I usually just made my cauflower in beer dough or "à la viennaise" (=in bread crumb coating), as gratin (with ham/bacon/meatballs/cheeses/ [recently in curry cream with potatoes as new 'attack']), ... .

Something different is a cauliflower-walnut-salad:
make a salad cream from sour cream (or creme fraiche), mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard, salt pepper.

Add blanched cauliflower roses, walnuts, rasped carrots, stipes from green, red, yellow paprika - and there you go.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:21 am
This is a (sort of) cauliflower cheese, but a rather glorofied one, from the link tin_sword_arthur provided. It looks rather good! Surprised :

Cauliflower Gratin with Gruyere and Hazelnuts:

1 medium head cauliflower (2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds)
Salt

1/2 cup crème fraiche (store bought or homemade - see recipe below)

3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, divided

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons dry, unflavored bread crumbs

3 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped*

2 tablespoons chopped chives or flat leaf parsley for garnish

* To toast hazelnuts, spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until browned and fragrant, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and when cool enough to handle, place nuts in a kitchen towel and rub together to remove as much of the skins as possible.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart oven-to-table baking dish or gratin pan; set aside.

Cut off and discard base of cauliflower, then cut the head into small, individual florets.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add cauliflower florets to pot and cook until tender (but not mushy) when pierced with a sharp knife, about 5 minutes. Drain florets and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Place cauliflower in prepared dish and toss with crème fraiche and half of the cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining cheese over cauliflower, then top with bread crumbs and hazelnuts. Bake on center rack of oven until cheese has melted and bread crumbs and nuts are golden, 20 to 25 minutes or more. Garnish with chives or parsley.

Serves 5 to 6.


Creme Fraiche
Crème fraiche is available in many supermarkets. If you can't find it, the following recipe works well. It needs to be made at least 6 hours in advance.

1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream

Whisk cream and sour cream together in a medium non-reactive bowl. Let stand at room temperature until thickened, 6 hours or longer. Cover and refrigerate. NOTE: Crème fraiche can be stored up to 1 week, covered, in refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:21 am
I always use fresh when I can get them. I figure Le Cirque probably had fresh on hand, but I dunno. (I say, whatever.. but I think, as to amount, that one uses less of the dried than the fresh.)
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:30 am
That spaghetti primavera recipe is a little daunting, re how to cook the vegetables, but that part is very important.. and sooo worth it. It's the kind of recipe I'd do for a small dinner party, the kind where people hang around the kitchen drinking chilled white wine and asking if they can help..
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 09:30 am
Thank you, Walter! Very Happy

& in case anyone is wondering what "glorofied" Cauliflower cheese is .... osso posted before I could change it to glorified. (It's going onto 2 am here. I'm weary. Confused )

osso, that Spaghetti primavera looks heavenly!
Possibly due to the omission of cauliflower? :wink:
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 10:16 am
ossobuco wrote:
I've had some tasty cream of cauliflower soups at restaurants..


Soup! Idea

I hadn't considered using cauliflower in soup. Hmmmm ....
0 Replies
 
 

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