Knife Skills: How to Cut Cauliflower

Knife Skills

Videos and step-by-step guides, each highlighting an essential knife technique.

The first step to great food is great knife skills. Check out more Knife Skills this way!


[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Video: Robyn Lee]

Along with broccoli, cauliflower is unique in being the only vegetable with a central nervous system. Ok, not really. But it sure looks like brains up on top, don't it? And that's the problem. Their irregular shape makes them a little cumbersome to chop. As with most vegetables, the key is to cut off a flat surface to hold them steady and work from there.

Like many other members of the cabbage family (hello Brussels sprouts!), cauliflower are great, cheap, and easily available through the fall and winter. I like to roast florets with a little olive oil in a really hot oven until they get tinged with dark brown. Deliciously sweet caramelized cauliflower is right up there next to caramelized kale and broccoli.

Shopping and Storage

A good head of cauliflower should have tight florets that are an even, pale white. Yellow or brown spots should be avoided, though if they are minor, you can trim them off no problem. Look to the leaves as well, which should remain tight around the base and appear bright pale green.

Once you get the cauliflower home, keep it loosely wrapped in plastic or in a vegetable bag inside the crisper. It should stay good for at least a week. Once you've cut it into florets, it's best to use it as fast as possible, though florets can also be stored in an airtight container for up to three days or so.

More Knife Skills This Way!