Cauliflower: A Versatile Crucifer
I found my first heads of spring cauliflower from Lost Barn Farm’s stall at the Brattleboro Area Farmers’ Market; they were miniature, each the size of large florets, and irresistibly cute. In its veratility, cauliflower can be treated as vegetable, starch, or both at once, served cooked or raw.
I pulse raw florets in a food processor and marinate them in a lemon and olive oil dressing, sometimes tossing in some plumped raisins to add an element of sweetness. (Raw cruciferous vegetables, even in small amounts, are said to be a powerful anticancer food, so I try to regularly include them in my diet.)
When I’m cooking cauliflower, I’ll swap it in for potatoes: tossed with olive oil, garlic, and salt and roasted in a 400°F oven for about a half hour will do the trick or steamed and pureed in the food processor with ample olive oil or melted butter makes a substantial side. And my Rice Pasta with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce recipe makes an alternative-to-cream creamy sauce for the pasta.
Cauliflower’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits—typical of cruciferous family vegetable members, which also include broccoli, kale, collards, and cabbage—are another reason I often add cauliflower to my market shopping basket, especially during peak cauliflower season, spring through early fall here in the Northeast.
Leda Scheintaub’s latest work is The Sage and the Cook: Two Generations of Gluten and Dairy Free Cooking, an e-book series in collaboration with whole foods pioneer Rebecca Wood. The first book in the series is Soups and Stews, available from Amazon for $2.99. She is also the coauthor (with Denise Mari) of the forthcoming Organic Avenue; coauthor (with Carol Alt) of Easy, Sexy Raw; the recipe developer for The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto; and author of Chipotle: Smoky Hot Recipes for All Occasions. She is also a graduate of the chef’s training at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York. She has been a freelance writer, editor, and recipe tester for the past ten years. She lives with her husband in southern Vermont, where you’ll often find her at the Brattleboro Area Farmers’ Market.