Versatile, Delicious Califlower

Cauliflower is so versatile it is a spring essential.

When I was growing up, my mom only made cauliflower one way – which was steamed with a basic white sauce over it and seasoned with salt and pepper. This was a great dish but there are many other ways to use your cauliflower. Check out the recipes below.

Steamed Cauliflower with White Sauce

1 large head cauliflower – washed

2 TB butter

2 TB flour

1 cup milk

Salt and pepper

Break cauliflower into small florets – steam 5 – 8 minutes or until fork tender set aside

In a small saucepan or double boiler over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir until the butter and flour are well combined. Pour in milk, stirring constantly as it thickens. Add more milk depending on desired consistency.

Pour over cauliflower, toss and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

 

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

1 large cauliflower – broken into small floret

1/2 cup butter

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F

Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cauliflower, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Drain, and place in a 2 quart casserole dish.

In a small bowl mix together butter, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle mixture over cauliflower, and top with Cheddar cheese.

Place casserole in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Salad
This is great for summer parties or picnics. Because there is no mayo in the dressing, there’s no worry about things ‘going off’ in hot weather.

1 small head each broccoli and cauliflower
1 8 oz. can black olives, chopped
1 8 oz. jar green olives, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 small Spanish onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced (with leaves if you prefer)
1 to 1-1/2 cups homeade vinegar and oil dressing, recipe below.

Clean the heads of the broccoli and cauliflower. Remove the florets (with 1/2 inch stems attached.) Rough chop florets and stems.

In large salad bowl, combine broccoli, cauliflower,  olives, tomatoes, onion, celery. Dress with one half quantity of dressing, let marinate at least one hour. If salad seems dry, add more dressing before serving.

Vinegar and Oil Dressing
For every one part of oil used, add approximately three parts vinegar. The amount of dressing you need will vary depending on your tastes, the type of oil used, the size of your cauliflower or broccoli heads, and the amount of salad you need. The salad above will serve 8 with a bit leftover. (If you aren’t sure about your ability to improvise dressing, try this bottle with recipes printed on it.)

1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup vinegar
garlic powder (or fresh garlic), salt and peppper to taste

Shake well, as this will separate as it sits. Refrigerate leftovers, keeps up to 3 months.

For a new taste, try a flavored vinegar, the brine from green olives with a plain vinegar, or flavored oils. This is a flexible dressing, and you’ll experiment until you find the taste you and your family like best. It also works well for marinating chicken or pork.

Cauliflower can be used in any recipe that calls for broccoli or combined with broccoli. Roasted, steamed, or blended into soup or salads, cauliflower is a nutritious and delicious vegetable to enjoy.

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.