Friday, May 30, 2008

Cauliflower, Romaine Lettuce, Preconceived Ideas

I had never been a big fan of cauliflower until last year when I learned how to roast it. Now you might think, what's so hard about roasting it? Don't you roast it as you would anyother vegetable? Sure! But sometimes there's little tricks that make it just that much better. For instance, cauliflower needs to be steamed, to soften it slightly, before letting it carmelize during the roasting my opinion. You can acheive that by covering the roasting sheet with foil for 10-15 min. and then uncovering it and roasting for an additional 10-15 min, depending on the size of the pieces. One of my favorite ways is to cut the cauliflower into wedges, through the core, instead of into small flowerettes. (I also trim the stalk, cut it into pieces, just as I would for broccoli also, and roasted it too along with the other pieces)

I have to give my friend, Jill, credit for turning me on to the website of Two Small Farms, and to the idea of the weekly CSA box of organic vegetables, which she also gets. Jill doesn't like cauliflower, or at least she hasn't liked it in the past, so she gave me hers, lucky me! But I've promised to show her how I roast it in the hopes of changing her mind, as much as I'd like to keep getting free cauliflower!

So one more thing.....we got another head of cauliflower this week, and as I was pulling the leaves off and throwing them away, it occured to me to cook the leaves. So I confess, I fished them out of the trash (they were on top!), washed them, and the next day, sliced them by lining them up and cutting crosswise into thin strips. I threw them into a hot pan with some spring garlic, stirfried quickly in a tbl. oil, a pinch of salt, and cooked for about 5 min. They had a slight cauliflower taste and stayed crunchy. And unless Fawn tells me that cauliflower leaves are food for pigs or cows or goats, I'll only but cauliflower at the farmers market with the leaves still on!

I roasted 2 heads of cauliflower with some small brussels, from the farmers market, and 1 large yam I've had for about 4 weeks (yikes!). With the leftover roasted veggies I made a salad using some romaine lettuce, and warm anchovy dressing....yum!

Warm Anchovy Dressing

Heat small pan, add 2 tbl. olive oil, when hot add 2-4 anchovy filets, chopped. Swirl around for about 1 minute, add 1-2 crushed garlic cloves for an additional minute, take off heat. Add the juice of one lemon, a pinch of salt and pour over salad and toss. (Be careful with the salt, depending on how much anchovy you use)

OK....romaine lettuce. I stand corrected! I love it! This is the reason for my original resistance.....I was under the assumption that most lettuces nutritional value was less than other choices like cabbages, spinach or greens, and it is much less than spinach and some greens, but not cabbage. In fact romaine lettuce has a good level of nutritional value, as well as plain old good flavor! I will actually buy it from now on!

Lesson? You have to be open to learning about new foods, by tasting....really tasting, not just looking at recipes, that include new foods, for ideas of flavor combinations, and checking out the nutritional facts.


hollyann said...

Hi Tracy,
My husband and I tried roasted cauliflower recently too and can't get enough of it!
We roast it with little evoo, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and of course garlic!!! YUM!
Love your blogs!

Tracy said...


I can eat a whole head myself...before it cools off! I skip the lemon though.

I usually spinkle red pepper flakes on everything I roast, but I didn't "feel it" with this one, lol!

Looks like I'll be getting more tonight, and my friend Jill is going on a 3 week trip, maybe she'll bring me hers when I see her tomorrow!