August 13, 2015

Food Trend Watch: Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be used in a way you didn't expect.

Cauliflower can be used in a way you didn’t expect.

If you’re in culinary school in Austin, you will be working with all kinds of fresh produce in your cooking. From breakfast to dessert, knowing how to incorporate fruits and vegetables is vital to a great meal. But finding innovative ways to include produce isn’t always easy.

According to New York Daily News, food trend watchers have predicted cauliflower as the next kale. As a member of the cabbage family, cauliflower resembles broccoli in appearance and texture. It is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and is not hard to find. Yet some people only come across cauliflower when it’s sitting next to dip in a vegetable platter at a party. But cauliflower is more versatile than you think. It can be baked, mashed, fried or can even be your pizza crust. Here is a delicious way to hop on the cauliflower food trend with cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese.

Cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese
Mac ‘n’ cheese isn’t only for kids. This recipe puts a new spin on the timeless meal that anyone will enjoy no matter their age. The cauliflower acts as the macaroni, which means this dish is lower in starch content, but you wouldn’t even know it. The recipe also includes another fresh ingredient that will provide that extra healthy punch: spinach. Here is what you need to make cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 ounces of cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  •  tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup of Panko breadcrumbs

Preparing your ingredients:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Wash, dry and cut the fresh produce.
5. Grate or crumble the cheddar cheese.

The sauce this recipe calls for is called bechamel as the base for the sauce. There are different variations (many of which you’ll learn in cooking school), but here is how to make it for your cauliflower mac ‘n’ cheese:

1. In a pot, melt the butter on medium and sprinkle in the flour.
2. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
3. Stir in the garlic and bring the sauce to a simmer.
4. Reduce heat until sauce has thickened.
5. Add the cauliflower, cheddar cheese, parmesan and spinach to the sauce, and cook on medium for about one to two minutes.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Baking: 

1. In a small bowl, combine the Panko with a little bit of olive oil and stir.
2. Add the cauliflower and spinach and top with more breadcrumbs.
3. Bake for eight to 10 minutes or until the top layer is toasted.
4. Let it cool before eating and enjoy!