Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable, closely related to a variety of other popular plants like broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and many others in the Brassica oleracea group. Understanding more about cauliflower and how to incorporate it into a wide variety of dishes is an important consideration for online culinary certificate students to make. A stronger grasp of the many uses of cauliflower is another step forward in assembling top-notch dishes and creating complex flavor profiles.
The wonderful world of cauliflower
The most important thing to remember about cauliflower is its versatility. This vegetable has traditionally been served as a side dish accompanying an entree, with a variety of preparations used. Some of the most popular include steaming, boiling and roasting, similar to the basic and common preparations of broccoli seen throughout the world.
There’s more to cauliflower than traditional cooking techniques and a role as a side dish, however. Frying cauliflower is one option to put a spin on the flavors involved and make the vegetable more of a star on the plate.
The deep-fried version of the dish shared by the Food Network is not only a vegetarian substitute for the down-home favorite of chicken-fried steak, it’s delicious in its own right. This mix of a very traditional recipe with unique ingredients is just one example of how far the power of cauliflower can go in your culinary efforts.
Another aspect of cauliflower to consider is its ability to be pickled and served just like any other vegetable soaked in brine and carefully stored until its flavors peak. Soulayphet Schwader, the chef and owner of Khe-Yo, New York City’s Michelin-recognized and first totally Laotian restaurant, advocated for pickled cauliflower in a discussion with Serious Eats.
Along with sharing a simple pickling recipe, he said pickled cauliflower has useful applications as a garnish that provide an important element of flavor and texture, namely a sour taste and a physical crunch. He also suggested using colored variations of the vegetable to add a little more visual intrigue.
Cauliflower is also useful when taken beyond its traditional presentation as individual heads. The Today Show reported on the long-running fad at grocer Trader Joe’s related to riced cauliflower, where customers in especially busy locations routinely buy out individual store’s stocks.
Similar in end product to traditional rice in appearance, color and culinary use, this application of cauliflower is a novel way for chefs to substitute a carbohydrate-heavy dish with something a little more balanced. To make riced cauliflower in your own kitchen, you can simply pulse the vegetable in a food processor until it has the consistency of rice. The Kitchn has a more in-depth recipe to peruse as well.
Few multi-course meals are complete without dessert. To that end, it’s also worth considering the sweeter uses of cauliflower. One such recipe, shared by the Unconventional Baker, offers a chocolate cauliflower ice cream cake that is also gluten, dairy and egg free. Other options, like Divalicious’s cauliflower chocolate cake recipe, involve more traditional ingredients beyond the vegetable itself.