The part of cauliflower we eat is the undeveloped flower bud of the plant Brassica oleracea var. botrytis. Though cauliflower is classically white, there are also yellow, chartreuse, and deep purple varieties. Cauliflower may be available in the spring or early summer, but it really shines in the cooler months of autumn.

Cauliflower can keep for a little more than a week under optimal conditions. Store in a plastic bag, and make sure that it is not very wet when put into storage, as this encourages rotting. If you do get to your cauliflower a little too late and find black spots developing on the head, try shaving them off with a knife.

For more long term storage, blanch in boiling water for 2 - 4 minutes, then drain and submerge in icy water to stop the cooking process. When cool, drain again and allow to dry before putting into zipper-style freezer bags. Frozen cauliflower is not firm when reheated, so use it in soups and stews.

Fresh cauliflower can be eaten raw in salads or as a dipping vegetable. It is also excellent when lightly steamed and drizzled with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Use cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes in mashed potato recipes.

Fried Cauliflower

Try making fried cauliflower, a dish that is common in the Middle East. First cut the head into fairly even sized florets. Blanch for 4-5 minutes, then drain very well, and pat dry. Into a cast iron pan, or a deep, thick-bottomed frying pan, pour enough vegetable oil to entirely (don't be shy!) coat the bottom. Heat to high-med heat. Stir occasionally and adjust the heat as needed. Fry the cauliflower until golden brown and caramelized on all sides. Remove from heat and scoop onto paper towels until cool enough to eat. Salt and serve as is or with a side of tahini dipping sauce.

Roasted Cauliflower
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 -2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 leeks (shallots or onions are okay)
Preheat oven to 400. Cut cauliflower into even sized florets. Clean leeks and cut off greens. Slice whites of leeks into pieces that are roughly an inch long, a half inch wide. Toss cauliflower, leeks, and thyme sprigs in olive oil, enough to coat veggies well.

Spread evenly on cookie sheet, cover
tightly with foil, and bake for 20 min. VERY CAREFULLY remove foil. Return to oven at 375 and cook for 15- 20 minutes, flip/stir with a spatula, and return to oven. Check after 10-15 minutes, and stir again. The goal is to have the cauliflower and leaks browned, but not burned. After a total of 45 -60 minutes, it should be done.


Raymmmondo said...

I Googled "black spots on my cauliflower" and found this article.

Thank you.

KimK said...

What about black spots on the stems of the florets? It looks like my cauliflower (just got it a day ago) has mildew.