Put some cauliflower in your life

Published 1:11 am Saturday, January 21, 2017

Cauliflower is the new kale! That is good news for me because I roast a head of cauliflower almost every week. It is an understated vegetable, low in calories, and can be used in so many ways.

In looking for new ways to prepare cauliflower I found a Chinese recipe and a new soup recipe. These were really good and since cauliflower can be found fresh at the farmer’s market right now, this is the time to do these recipes.


From ‘bon appétit’ October 2016.

Kung Pao Cauliflower

4 servings


2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1 ¾ pounds)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

3 ounces slab or thick-cut bacon, chopped

2 tablespoons red chili flakes

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns or ½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns

3 scallions, dark-green and white parts separated, thinly sliced

1 serrano chili, sliced

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced

¼ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts

Kosher salt

Steamed white rice (for serving)

Stir wine, cornstarch, and 1 Tbsp. soy sauce in a medium bowl; set marinade aside.

Stir vinegar, hoisin sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and remaining 2 tsp. soy sauce in a small bowl; set sauce aside.

Remove leaves and cut cauliflower into medium florets. Trim woody end of stalk and discard, then cut stalk into ½ “–thick pieces. Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a wok or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Cook cauliflower, tossing occasionally, until browned in places and beginning to soften, 7-9 minutes. Give reserved marinade a stir to reincorporate cornstarch and add cauliflower to bowl; toss to coat. Toss occasionally while you cook the bacon.

Reduce heat to medium. Cook bacon and remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in wok, stirring often, until bacon is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the chili flakes and peppercorns and cook, tossing, just until fragrant (be careful not to burn), about 30 seconds. Transfer bacon, chilies, and peppercorns to a plate, leaving bacon drippings behind.

Return cauliflower to wok with a slotted spoon; discard excess marinade. Cook cauliflower, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender (short of scorching it, don’t worry about letting it go pretty dark), 8-10 minutes. Add reserved sauce, scallion whites, serrano chili, ginger, garlic, and peanuts and cook, tossing often, until sauce is fragrant and cauliflower is tender, about 2 minutes. Add bacon mixture and cook, tossing, just until sauce coats cauliflower, about 1 minute; season with salt. Transfer to a serving dish and top with scallion greens. Serve with rice alongside.


From Poole’s by Ashley Christensen.

Cauliflower Soup with Sultanas and Crispy Capers

Serves 4

2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly slice

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets

2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Sea salt


Crispy Capers

¼ cup capers, drained

½ cup neutral vegetable oil


Sultana Relish

½ cup sultanas

½ cup boiling water

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 tablespoon olive oil


To make the soup, place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, and when it simmers, add the onion. Stirring with a wooden spoon, cook the onion until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the cauliflower, season lightly with salt, and stir to coat with the onion and oil. Add a splash of water, cover, and steam until tender, about 8 minutes.

Uncover and add the cream and enough water to just cover the cauliflower. Simmer until the cauliflower is tender to the point of falling apart, 15-20 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a stand blender, puree until airy and smooth. Season the puree with salt to taste. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, and puree after each addition.

To make the crispy capers, place the capers and oil in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Let the oil heat up; the capers will begin to fry. Once the capers are bubbling, cook for 1 minute, then use a fine-mesh sieve to transfer the capers to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve.

To make the sultana relish, in a small bowl, combine the sultanas and the boiling water. Let sit until the water is room temperature. Drain the sultanas, coarsely chop, and place in a bowl. Stir in the shallot and olive oil. Set aside until ready to use.

To serve, reheat the soup gently, ladle into bowls, and garnish with a spoonful each of the relish and the capers.