Cauliflower has risen to a prominent place on the menus of many restaurants over the past few years. While the cruciferous vegetable has a long history in cuisines around the world, recent trends in dieting and cooking alike have pushed it to new levels of popularity. As US News & World Report noted, cauliflower has become so celebrated both because health-conscious food enthusiasts believe it will provide benefits and because it’s an exceptionally versatile ingredient. For a student working toward a culinary arts certificate online, cauliflower is packed with opportunities to try out different cooking techniques.
“Cauliflower is a tasty choice for a wide variety of applications.”
Cooking with cauliflower
Cauliflower is a tasty choice for a wide variety of applications, whether it’s steamed, blanched, mashed or sauteed. To get started on unlocking this vegetable’s potential, try making the recipe for roasted cauliflower provided by the New York Times. This method brings out sweet flavors, making it perfect as an appetizer, the basis for a salad or a side for lamb or roast chicken, especially when topped with an aged vinegar.
First, trim a head of cauliflower and slice it into quarter-inch pieces. Set the pieces in a bowl, coating them with extra-virgin olive oil and tossing with salt and black pepper. Transfer the cauliflower onto a baking sheet, drizzling oil on top.
Place the baking sheet in an oven set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast for about half an hour, flipping the cauliflower once. Look for the pieces to become tender and the edges to caramelize.
Chefs at the forefront of the veggie trend
Restaurants across the country are serving exceptional dishes that feature cauliflower. These items show off just how great this vegetable can be as an ingredient. Culinary academy students will find plenty of inspiration in the ways chefs are putting cauliflower to work in various cuisines.
At Mediterranean restaurant Byblos, located in Miami, diners dig into a side of cauliflower seared in duck fat. For even more bold taste, there’s a topping of tahini sauce, plus sesame seeds and coriander. True fans of the vegetable might also be interested in the American wagyu tenderloin, which comes with cauliflower, amlou dressing, black truffle oil and veal jus.
Alon Shaya, executive chef of Domenica in New Orleans, stepped up a simple whole, roasted cauliflower to serve as an antipasto. Bon Appetit explained his version gets its unique flavor by being simmered in a seasoned poaching liquid of dry white wine, olive oil, kosher salt, lemon juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf and water. After roasting for 30 to 40 minutes, the vegetable is served alongside goat cheese whipped with feta, cream cheese and olive oil.
For Austin culinary arts fans, La Condesa offers a distinctive approach to cauliflower. The restaurant, specializing in upscale and contemporary takes on classic Mexican dishes, offers a roasted cauliflower steak. The entree is accompanied by a chipotle raisin puree, marcona almonds, a chile de arbol vinaigrette and a soubise sauce made with garlic and cauliflower.
Atlanta’s Bocado frequently shifts its menu, providing a range of seasonal and experimental items. Cauliflower has a prominent place in the repertoire, including in the roasted cauliflower sandwich available at lunchtime. The hearty baguette also comes piled with Chinese and Thai eggplant, cilantro and a spicy mayonnaise.
There seems to be no end to the delicious ways cauliflower can be prepared and presented. With some imagination, chefs can incorporate the veggie into dishes from all culinary traditions and styles. In every context, cauliflower impresses with its natural flavors and satisfying texture.