Mashed, cheesed, buttered, or plain, cauliflower is a favorite vegetable for many. Perfect in soups or to accompany proteins, it's available year-round, but its peak season is the fall. Cauliflower differs from other cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage and kale) in that it lacks the green chlorophyll which the leaves of the plant shield the florets from the sun as they grow.
Some cauliflower recipes, after the jump.
There are four main types of cauliflower, with over 100 sub-varieties. The Italian cauliflower, including white and Romanesco, can be found in green, purple, brown, and yellow hues. The Asian type accounts for tropical cauliflower that is used in China and India, with varieties such as Patna and Benaras. The Northwest European biennial type was cultivated in Europe in the 19th century and includes varieties such as Roscoff and Angers; finally, the Northern European was developed in Germany in the 18th century and includes old cultivars such as Erfurt and Snowball.
When selecting cauliflower in your market, look for a clean, creamy white, and compact head with tight bud clusters. Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower should be avoided; heads that are surrounded by many thick green leaves are better protected and will stay fresher longer.
Cauliflower will keep for up to five days if stored in a perforated plastic bag or in an open dry container in the crisper section of the refrigerator. Always keep the head stem-side up to prevent moisture form collecting on it during storage. For the best flavor, cauliflower should be eaten as soon as possible. Precut florets do not keep well, and are best enjoyed within a day of purchase, so you may want to cut as you eat.
Here are some recipes to help you take advantage of this healthy and in season veggie.
- Cauliflower with Bacon and Mushrooms
- Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes in a Spicy Tomato Sauce with Cashews
- Cauliflower Gratin
- Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Bacon, and Breadcrumbs
- Curried Sautéed Cauliflower
- Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Gratin with Pine Nut-Bread Crumb Topping
- Cauliflower Purée
- Gemelli with Smothered Cauliflower and Saffron
What are your favorite cauliflower recipes?