New uses for cauliflower

Crisped Cauliflower With Lemon Tahini Sauce.
(Photo for The Washington Post by Deb Lindsey)
Story by Special to The Washington Post
(Special to The Washington Post)
Fri, Oct 11, 2013
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Looking for some new recipes for cauliflower?

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin

There is no need to whip up a bechamel sauce for this quick version of a gratin, made all the more alluring by first oven-roasting the cauliflower. This recipe comes from Washington food writer David Hagedorn.

The cauliflower can be roasted several hours in advance; warm it through in a saute pan with the cream, then assemble the gratin and broil.

You’ll need an 8-cup gratin dish.

  • 1 large head (2 pounds) cauliflower (outer leaves removed), broken into 1 1/2-inch florets
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the cauliflower florets, oil and salt in a mixing bowl to coat. Spread the florets on the baking sheet, flat edges down. (Wipe out the bowl; you’ll use it again.) Bake on the lower rack for 20 minutes, then turn the oven on broil. Once it’s preheated, transfer the cauliflower to the top rack and broil for 7 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned and tender. Keep the broiler on.

Transfer the florets to the same bowl you first used. Add the cream, garlic, Gruyere cheese, half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and all the pepper and nutmeg. Stir to incorporate, then spoon the cauliflower into a large gratin dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and return to the broiler for 5 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve hot. 6 servings.

Per serving: 240 calories, 20 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 370 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams sugar, 9 grams protein.

Cauliflower Risotto

When you grate cauliflower down to its core, you create rice-size pieces perfect for mimicking a classic risotto. District of Columbia chefs Bart Vandaele and Aaron McCloud often feature cauliflower risotto on their menus. This recipe takes aspects of both chefs’ versions and combines them; adapted by Washington food writer David Hagedorn.

  • 1 head (2 pounds) cauliflower (outer leaves removed), cored and halved
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup no-salt-added vegetable broth, warmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks, then brought to room temperature

Use the large-hole side of box grater to grate each cauliflower half into rice-size pieces, stopping once you get to the stalk. The yield should be about 4 cups. (Cut the stalks into 1/2-inch pieces and reserve for another use, such as a puree or soup.)

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes, until softened but not browned, stirring constantly. Add the cauliflower and salt; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the white wine and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated.

Add the broth in three equal additions, stirring for about 3 minutes, until each addition has been absorbed.

Add the pepper, nutmeg, butter and cheese, stirring until incorporated, then stir in the cream.

Serve immediately. 6 servings.

Per serving: 230 calories, 19 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium, 7 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams sugar, 4 grams protein.

Roasted Cauliflower With Pistachios, Olives and Raisins

This dish, by Washington food writer David Hagedorn, was inspired by the whole roasted cauliflower with pine nuts, black olives and golden raisins that chef Nick Stefanelli has featured on his vegetarian tasting menu at Bibiana. The cauliflower can be prepared an hour in advance and held in a warming drawer, but it is best served just after it has been made.

  • 1 large head (2 pounds) cauliflower (outer leaves removed), broken into 1 1/2-inch florets
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shelled, roasted unsalted pistachios
  • 1/3 cup cured pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Coat the cauliflower florets with the oil and salt, then spread them on the baking sheet with any flat edges down. Bake on the lower rack for 20 minutes.

Preheat the broiler, then transfer the baking sheet to the top rack and broil for 10 minutes. The florets should be browned and tender.

Meanwhile, place the raisins in a small bowl. Warm the vermouth in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, then pour it over the raisins to plump them.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter stops foaming and its solids start to brown, turning the butter golden in color, stir in the pistachios, olives, crushed red pepper flakes and lemon zest and juice. Stir the plumped raisins and any remaining vermouth into the mix. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the broiled cauliflower to the saute pan, stirring to coat and incorporate.

Serve immediately. 6 servings.

Per serving: 280 calories, 6 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 12 grams sugar

Peppery Gobi Matar

Cathal Armstrong, chef and co-owner of Restaurant Eve in Old Town Alexandria, Va., features a Cauliflower With Toasted Garlic and Black Pepper recipe in his forthcoming cookbook. He simply sautes cauliflower until golden brown, then adds loads of thinly sliced garlic and freshly ground black pepper. This recipe, from Washington food writer David Hagedorn, takes it a step further, ratcheting up the heat to mimic the Indian dish gobi (cauliflower) matar (peas).

The dish can be prepared an hour in advance and held in a warm oven, but it is best when cooked just before serving.

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small head (1 pound) cauliflower (outer leaves removed), broken into 1 1/2-inch florets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon best-quality curry powder
  • 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger root, minced (4 teaspoons)
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, thinly sliced (unseeded)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh peas (may substitute 1 cup frozen peas, plunged into hot water, then drained)

Steps

Heat the oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the cauliflower florets and salt; cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the florets are nicely browned on all sides.

Make a well in the center of the pan; add the butter there. Once it has melted, stir the curry powder into the butter; cook for several seconds, then add the garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, black pepper and peas. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to coat and incorporate.

Serve immediately. 6 servings.

Per serving: 150 calories, 3 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 350 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams sugar

Crisped Cauliflower With Lemon Tahini Sauce

When chef Haidar Karoum was growing up, this was a favorite dish his father would make. Now it’s a best-seller on his menu at Proof restaurant in D.C. Room 11 restaurant, also in Washington, serves a similar dish, but with roasted instead of deep-fried cauliflower. This version comes from Washington food writer David Hagedorn.

The tahini sauce can be made a week in advance.

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Dash hot sauce, such as Tabasco

For the cauliflower:

  • 4 cups canola oil, for frying
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets (4 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • Leaves from 1/2 small bunch mint, minced

For the sauce: Combine the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, salt and hot sauce in a food processor or blender; puree until smooth.

For the cauliflower: Line a baking sheet with paper towels, then place a wire cooling rack over it.

Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Working in batches as needed, carefully add the florets and fry for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the florets to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season them with salt while still hot.

Transfer to a serving bowl; garnish with the mint. Serve with tahini sauce on the side. 4 servings.

Per serving (using half the sauce): 320 calories, 8 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 590 milligrams sodium, 6 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams sugar

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