We are obsessed with the gorgeous, colorful cauliflower, like the purple and yellow ones we found at Specialty Produce, that are in abundance right now in San Diego.
This is a vegetable that is easy to love, whether caramelized, roasted, riced, steamed, or pickled. Here we present five basic techniques for getting the most out of your cauliflower.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets and toss in a bowl or directly on the baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper (feel free to toss on some onion slices or garlic cloves, if you have them lying around). Roast, tossing occasionally, for 25-40 minutes, or until your desired level of tenderness and golden color have been achieved. Finish them off with a sprinkle of parmesan and a squeeze of lemon, if you like, or eat them as is.
Meltingly tender deep fried cauliflower served with a lemon tahini sauce is a Lebanese classic. We prefer to skip the deep frying and simply pan fry our florets until they reach the same caramelization. Heat enough olive oil to completely over the bottom of your pan over medium high. Break up your cauliflower florets directly into the pan, letting the little bits fall in as well (they get super crunchy and are delicious. Stir to coat with oil and then sprinkle on some salt and either black pepper or red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces turn a deep brown and are extremely soft and tender. These are great tossed in pasta, served over Middle Eastern-style rice and lentils, or as a side drizzled with a mixture of garlic, tahini, and lemon juice.
You probably have heard about this low-carb internet sensation, and it is a delicious way to do something different with your cauliflower. Simply pulse your florets in a food processor with the grater blade, or use a box grater to break down the florets into rice-sized pieces. You can use it raw in salads at this point, but if you want a rice or couscous-like side, then heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat, stir in your "rice", then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 5-10 minutes. When tender, remove from heat, season, fluff, and serve.
Break cauliflower into large florets and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with enough water to just cover the bottom of the bowl. Cover loosely and steam cauliflower in microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until very tender. Yep, you read that right. MICROWAVE. We are all about easy weeknight fixes! You can also boil the cauliflower, steam it on the stove, or even bake it, just so long as you get it tender enough to mash. Drain your cauliflower and place in a bowl or food processor. Add butter, goat cheese, cream cheese, whatever catches your fancy, along with desired seasonings or fresh herbs. Then mash by hand or puree using your food processor, just until a creamy texture is achieved. This won't taste exactly like mashed potatos, even though it looks similar. It is, however, delicious. And, if you want to make this purely as a healtier alternative to mashed spuds, do your self a favor and add one potato. It will give it a much more mashed-potato-like texture and taste, and you'll still be getting in some veg.
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Process a head of cauliflower in food processor until very finely chopped. Transfer to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave cauliflower for 2½ minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Wrap cauliflower in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Return cauliflower to bowl. Combine cauliflower with an egg, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, 2 tablespoons mozzarella, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Feel free to add seasonings like basil or oregano too, if you like. Spread mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and press into a ¼-inch thick rectangle. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden and cheese is browned and bubbly. Add desired toppings and bake an additional 10 minutes.