Food and Drink

   

In Season: Cauliflower

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We first see good quality cauliflower at good prices in early winter, but there is a resurgence come early spring and you can find some beauties right now. The perfect white cauliflower is created by the grower by covering the developing head with extra leaves for protection, but lately we have seen a variety of colours available in shops.The little purple ones get their colour from anthocyanin, the red pigment found in other red-coloured fruits and vegetables. They can fade a little as they cook but you can counteract that by adding a little lemon juice. Anthocyanin tends to also add a little sweetness compared to the original.  There is also a green variety, and serving little florets of the three can make an interesting veggie option for fussy eaters. Another green variety, the coral-resembling Broccoflower, or Romanesco broccoli, looks stunning served whole.

Cauliflower is one of the cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage and kale, which should be part of a well balanced diet. They are rich in sulphur and work as an anti-inflammatory, digestive aid and immune system booster.  They are low in calories, carbs and fat, and are great source of potassium which is important for nerve and muscle function. They are also high in vitamin C, K, B group and folate. Make sure you don’t overcook your cauli – not only will you lose all those vitamins but also the sweet flavours.

We all well know that great old traditional winter favourite baked in cheese sauce, but cauliflower can be so much more.

It makes a lovely risotto; try this using taleggio in place of the parmesan and garnishing with fried anchovies.

Cauliflower is a great blank canvas for added spices: try with chicken in green curry and coconut milk, or stir frying florets with cumin, coriander, pepper and paprika. My own favourite is a dish I learned from some Indian students I was teaching at the time – potato and cauliflower curry.

Gobi Aloo (serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garlic, crushed
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ teaspoon turmeric
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon fenugreek
½ to 1 teaspoon chilli powder (depending on heat preference – these guys liked it hot!)
500g cauliflower, cut into florets
Fresh coriander for garnish

Method:

Fry the cumin seeds in the oil until fragrant, then add the garlic and ginger and sauté until golden.

Add the potatoes, the other spices, and salt to taste. Stir well to coat the potato, then cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the cauliflower, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the chopped fresh coriander and serve with your favourite Indian bread.

Photos by Leila Koren.


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