Cauliflower has taken the internet by storm over the last few years as it goes through an Instagram-worthy evolution. We've gone from classic, plain florets to cauliflower "rice," cauliflower "steaks," whole roasted cauliflower heads, and now pizza crust made almost entirely of finely chopped cauliflower. What can't this vegetable do? It's extremely versatile and works equally well in a traditional casserole or as a fried appetizer. F&W's guide to one of our favorite vegetables includes ideas for upgrading tired side dishes, delicious recipes that will get kids to eat their vegetables, new cooking techniques and more.
Maydān, Rose Previte's Washington, D.C., restaurant and wood-fired homage to Lebanon, is justly famous for its massive hearth, where this whole marinated cauliflower is cooked. While the Maydan chefs truss and hang the cauliflower heads over the fire to slowly cook them, we've adapted the recipe to slowly grill-roast them over indirect heat with an oak or hickory log at the center of the grill, alongside lit coals (which imbues the dish with smoky flavor and a rich color) before lightly charring the cauliflower over the coals to finish. Simply put, this is one of the most delicious dishes we've ever grilled at home. Serve it as a hearty main course or as a side with herbal zhough and bright tahina sauces, garnished with sumac onions and herbs.
Justin Chapple’s riff on the Chinese-American classic, General Tso’s chicken, uses stir-fried cauliflower florets instead of deep-fried chicken, and adds Indonesian sambal oelek for a dose of heat. You can opt to use chicken broth, which will make it extra savory, or go with vegetable broth to make the dish vegetarian.
A quick spice blend of roasted fennel seeds, black pepper, and orange zest lend a sausage-like flavor to these roasted cauliflower steaks—without the meat. Browning the cauliflower before adding the toppings and melting the cheese ensures a tender, sweet, and nutty bite. Be sure to flip the cauliflower during roasting to ensure there are plenty of caramelized florets under the marinara and melty cheese. Use leftover cauliflower florets for soups and stews or in a fresh winter salad.
If there’s a better way to eat cauliflower than this gratin from Blacklock, we have yet to come across it. A powerhouse of English cheeses—Montgomery’s crumbly and nutty cheddar; Ogleshield, a washed-rind Jersey cow milk cheese; and buttery, blue-veined Colston Bassett Stilton—blankets cauliflower florets in a béchamel.
Meera Sodha, author of Fresh India, adds ground almonds to her version of this yogurt-based curry, then folds in nutty roasted cauliflower. Toasting the almonds and the raisin garnish adds a striking smokiness and texture to the finished dish. Slideshow: More Cauliflower Recipes
“Mushrooms and eggplant are the most frequent vegetable substitutes for meat, but I prefer roasted cauliflower for a saucy dish like this one. It takes on the flavor of the spiced tomato sauce while maintaining its delicious bite. (Mushrooms and eggplant tend to get mushy.) If you want a smokier, spicier sauce, you can add a canned chipotle in adobo sauce to the mix.” Reprinted with permission from Short Stack Editions Vol. 31: Cauliflower, by Kristin Donnelly (shortstackeditions.com). Slideshow: More Cauliflower Recipes
Indian Panfried Cauliflower
David Tanis ensures sweet and nutty cauliflower with gorgeous and delicious browning by pan-frying it. He writes, “To get sweet caramelized cauliflower, pan-fried is the way to go. Some cooks make this dish with grated cauliflower, but I prefer to make irregular thin slices, which brown beautifully. Make it as spicy as you wish.”Excerpted from David Tanis Market Cooking by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Slideshow: More Cauliflower Recipes