I’m a fan of simplicity.
The thing about simplicity is, if it’s not appreciated for its beauty,
it’s called ‘boring.’
I would say that cauliflower is under-appreciated.
It’s white – the color of simplicity, if a non-color word can be assigned a color. Its flavor is delicate. Like simple, ‘delicate,’ when not appreciated for its beauty, can also be called ‘boring.’
I’m sure you’re following. Here’s a recipe to appreciate the delicacy of cauliflower’s flavor, and how naturally gorgeous it is. (When I worked on the farm and walked the fields, I was eternally amazed by the beautiful, lush, cabbage-family plants, leaves curling up to hide the small, growing heads, only one apiece. To boot, it can be hard to grow – it needs a long growing season, so if fall comes too soon, no cauliflower – just a big leafy plant).
As for simplicity, this recipe has under five ingredients to keep that flavor clear.
If you’d like to explore the simplicity of cauliflower in a soup form that I’m curious about (also in about five ingredients), try this one - and let me know how it turns out!
Cauliflower Steaks + Puree
Adapted from Epicurious
a 1 1/2-lb. head of cauliflower
1 1/2 c.water
1 c. whole milk
2 T. vegetable oil plus additional for brushing
parsley to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 250°F. With a heavy, sharp knife, cut two 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, starting at top center of cauliflower head and cutting through stem end. Set cauliflower steaks aside.
Cut up remaining cauliflower into florets and medium pieces, to measure 3 cups. Combine with water and milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and cook until cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes.
Strain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Spread florets on large rimmed baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, until slightly dry.
Transfer florets to blender and add reserved 1 cup cooking liquid. Puree until smooth and return to saucepan. Increase oven temperature to 350°F.
Heat vegetable oil in large, heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
Brush cauliflower steaks with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add cauliflower steaks to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until tender, about 10 minutes.
Rewarm cauliflower puree over medium heat, then divide between 2 plates and top each with a cauliflower steak.