Cauliflower, from India to Italy

Cook, Ingredient Spotlight

Mark Twain once described cauliflower as “cabbage with a college education.” A member of the cabbage family, cauliflower is akin to broccoli, which it closely resembles.

 

Here are two original ways to prepare this fall and winter vegetable, inspired by distinct global cuisines.

 

All About Cauliflower

Learn more tips for selecting, storing and preparing cauliflower.

 

Roasted Cauliflower

ITALY

 

2 Tbs. capers

1 head cauliflower, about 1 pound, cored and cut into 1-inch florets

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. If using salt-packed capers, rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Combine the cauliflower florets, raisins and capers on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

 

Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the parsley and toss to combine. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

 

Curried Cauliflower Stew

INDIA

 

A favorite of Indian children, gobhi masala is a delicately spiced cauliflower stew, the seasoning of which varies by region. In this recipe from Madhya Pradesh, the cauliflower is braised in a rich coconut sauce with Moghul spices. Indian cooks use the whole cauliflower — leaves and all — which adds depth to the sauce.

 

1 head cauliflower, about 2 pounds

3 Tbs. usli ghee or vegetable oil

2 cassia leaves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 Tbs. grated ginger

1 Tbs. ground coriander

1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Salt

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1 cup coconut milk or light cream

1 boiling potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tsp. garam masala

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

Separate the cauliflower into florets and cut them into 2-inch pieces. Peel the stem and cut it crosswise into slices 1/8 inch thick. Chop the tender leaves into 2-inch pieces. Set aside.

 

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the usli ghee. Add the cassia leaves, cinnamon and cumin and let sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown, about 3 minutes. Stir int he ginger, ground coriander, cayenne pepper to taste, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 cup of the coconut milk and 1/2 cup water. Add the cauliflower and potato, mix gently and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 17 to 18 minutes.

 

Uncover and add the remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk, the garam masala and half of the cilantro. Mix well. Transfer to a warmed serving dish, sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve at once. Serves 6.

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