Oh God, it's the cauliflower that ate Van Nuys!
This is the first year we've had a place with a yard big enough to grow produce. I pooh-poohed the people who said "only plant two of each thing", because as any good East Coast gardener knows, half your plants will die or need to be thinned for the good of the herd.
Not so in Southern California. They ALL sprouted.
So I just picked the first of our cauliflowers out of the garden (we got started late, thank God it's been a cool spring).
It weighs thirteen pounds.
I have seven others in development that are headed toward that size.
What on EARTH do I do with that much cauliflower, besides give it away? I already have plans for low-carb-type "mashed potatoes", and of course orecchiette with cauliflower, oil and garlic, but beyond just steaming it and eating it with cheese sauce or butter, what do I do with a hundred pounds of cauliflower?!
As a variation to your orecchiette recipe, Marcella Hazan has a fabulous pasta sauce recipe with cauliflower with anchovies, red pepper and garlic. Here's a paraphrase:
1 head caluiflower (1-1/2 lbs)
1/2 c. EVOO
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
6 flat anchovy fillets, chopped finely
Red chili pepper to taste
2 T. chopped parsley
1 to 1-1/2 lbs pasta
Steam cauliflower florets until tender. In a separate pan, sautee garlic in olive oil until light golden brown. Place saute pan with garlic and oil over simmering water or very low flame, and mash garlic with anchovies until it forms a paste. Return to burner/turn up flame to medium and saute for 30 seconds. Add cauliflower to pan, mashing up the florets until they are nut-sized and mixed well with anchovy paste. Add parsley, red pepper and salt to taste and toss with cooked pasta. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
Cauliflower au gratin is also really good. There's a great recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
In addition to other great ideas: steamed or boiled cauliflower with a zesty vinaigrette (I like a pretty sharp one with mustard or anchovy). Alternatively, a Chinese-style soy/vinegar/sesame oil dressing (optional: chili flakes in oil, yum). And there are *lots* of great recipes from the Indian subcontinent--check out some cookbooks. An old standby is popping some whole spices in oil, tossing in small florets, and steam/sauteeing.
Patricia Wells's cauliflower gratin is a favourite in my house. Steam the florets of a head of cauliflower (you'll have to gauge that amount with your 13-lb one!). Throw it in the food processor with 6T ricotta and 3T creme fraiche (you could use yogurt), salt and pepper. Tip into a gratin dish and cover with 1/2 c. grated parmesan and put in hot oven (425 - 450) till top is brown. Heavenly with roast chicken.
I was roasting a chicken tonight, and had some cauliflower, so tried this, and it is indeed delicious! Thanks for the recipe, it will go into my regular rotation...
I used yogurt,not creme fraiche, since I had it, and much less parmesan than suggested (we are trying to cut calories around my house), still tasted great. However, despite about 15 minutes in the hot oven, it never did get brown until I stuck it under the broiler for a few minutes. Nonetheless, I would still bake it before broiling...
btw, this would be a good choice for the vegetable phobic: hubby couldn't guess what it was: just asked, 'what is that delicious dish with the ricotta'. I'm not even sure he would have known it was ricotta, were it not for the fact that I asked him to accompany me on a little pre-dinner walk down to Safeway to pick up some ricotta. The flavors come together in a way that is fresh and tasty, but not distinct...In any case, he definitely ate more than his share :-)
by the way, when I explained the context as to where I got the recipe, he wanted to know why the cauliflower hadn't been picked *before* it got to 13 pounds? (which is perhaps one solution for the next batch).
Roast cauliflower florets with salt, pepper and olive oil in the oven (you can add more seasoning if you would like, like chili pepper), as you would oven-roast potatoes.
People swear it tastes just like french fries:).
Also, this way there is never enough cauliflower shomehow- due to water loss during roasting and amazingly good taste there are never any leftovers, no matter how much I make.
It is a nice and easy side dish - goes pretty much anywhere where you could use a side of rice/potatoes/etc only lighter and tastier.
I second the tip to roast cauliflower, it is so easy, if you have "too much" cauliflower, it does "shrink" in the roasting process but the flavor stays BIG.
I used to roast vegies on a sheet pan, which is great for red peppers and such, but I have found cauliflower roasts best
in my high sided le cruset roaster, if you have one try it , or a cast iron dutch oven.
Just wash and separate the cauliflower into good sized florets, a little olive oil, salt and in a hot, 400 oven.
I let it cook to slightly tender first before I season it. Then I add herbs and seasoning and roast till it is getting some carmelized edges. Some interesting flavors to add are: fresh ground cumin, chopped cilantro, and green onions. Or chopped fresh basil, chopped garlic and red pepper flakes.
Or even just salt , pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
I envy the OP garden space in LA...we live in a great apartment, but not even any patio pots allowed ....... I dream of raised beds and playing in the dirt, enjoy!!!!!
Upon the advice of other posters, I threw in a head of cauliflower with the rest of my roast veggies.
I did my usual: salt, pepper, cajun spices that BF mixes himself, and a little olive oil. I decided to go without the butter for once.
Long story short, the cauliflower pieces disappeared before any of the other vegetables were even close to being finished. It's a winner.
I buy a head of cauliflower every week all year long. We love it steamed,roasted, souped,creamed,cheesed, raw---well you get the picture. Here's my recipe for cauli soup----saute 1 onion, 1 head of caulifower flowers(a reg. size head, not a 13 pounder!) 2 cloves garlic in 2 T. olive oil. Add pleanty of pepper,rosemary, curry powder or cumin. Saute till onion and cauli are soft, then add 32 oz. of chicken stock ( low sodium) and 1 cup water and 2 tea. better than boullion chicken stock. Put a lid on this and cook about 30 to 40 min or until tender and it's developed a lot of flavor. Add more salt if necessary. Cool slightly and blend in your blender, then put back on stove and add 1 cup half and half(I use the fat-free)--heat slowly and serve. We love it with a dolop of sour cream, garlic croutons and some fresh chopped parsley. This is also a great soup to freeze--just do so before adding the cream--thaw, then add cream and heat and it will just like fresh. You can really change the flavor of this by adding different dried herbs. Also, raw cauli.,sugar snap peas and your fav. dip/dressing is a great summer appitizer.
You must be so proud of such a great crop---enjoy!
I wish I had thought to take a picture before I disassembled it... oh well.
I disassembled it and sacrificed half of it to make six quarts (yes, quarts!) of giardiniera, which also used up some of the ridiculous number of carrots and chile peppers growing in the garden. The other half I'm going to tempura fry this evening... but there is so much more cauliflower out there that I think I will systematically work through the recipes youse have all posted.
With any luck, the weather will remain cool another week or so and won't roast the cauliflower still on the plant! (I have lived here in the Valley for many years, I just never had a house with a yard until a couple of years ago, and we never got around to planting a garden until this winter.)
I appreciate all your help!
I agree w/ nooodles, take a picture first and even better, post it here. :-)
Here are some ideas:
-Pickled (Asian or Italian style)
-Roasted (see link for a playful recipe by the Surreal Gourmet for "cauliflower popcorn"; fun to serve in paper bags)
-In light soup like Viet canh w/ pork spareribs, mustard greens, carrot, tomato
-Steamed and finished w/ truffle oil
-Gratineed w/ a bechamel sauce w/ vanilla bean (something I've been wanting to experiment with)
-And when you really get desperate later...you could invent cauliflower ice cream!! (I'm half serious here)
Welcome to to your first experience with California Soil! :) EVERYTHING can grow in our soil... it truly is amazing! :)
I LOVE Cauliflower! Anyway, my favorite way of eating is to lightly steam and then dredge in an egg white and flour fluffy batter and then fry. Prepare a chunky tomato sauce with Onions and Chile to go over it. I eat it all over rice and it's one of my favorite comfort foods... :)
Although it will get a little hot here soon, you might also want to look into roasting recipes. One of my favorite things at AOC is their roasted Cauliflower vinegar and curry dish... Hmmm...
make Cauliflower wine?
Lately I've been eating my cauliflower fried in red pepper flakes. You can also grill it.
I also add it to my linquini with clams. Hmm, maybe in tuna fish?
Have I mentioned trying to make wine out of it? Oh wait, the summer solstice is almost upon us! The proper Swedish thing to do would be to make Cauliflower-flavored Vodka.
First, you take a photo with them. I have a small collection of me with giant vegetables/fruits bigger than my head. People are always very amused by these photos.
Then, you make lots of cream of cauliflower soup. It will by no means deplete your supply, but it does take a lot to make one pot of soup. I don't have a recipe; I just use one for cream of broccoli and substitute. They taste nothing alike, of course. But they're both good.