This is a relatively new statement for me, but I love vegetables. I didn’t always, and mainly I think that was because I was exposed to so few of them as a child and the ones I did eat were either steamed and mushy (AKA: nasty) or served raw with dip.
I love my parents and they sometimes reads this blog, so please understand that I’m not writing this to hurt or embarass them. But the truth is that thier idea of a vegetable with dinner was either a baked potato or boxed mashed potatoes with frozen peas or corn, or maybe broccoli once in a while. Not bad, just not exciting and no real variety.
And the vegetables we were given at school were worse: the mushed up steamed medley of carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Gag! (Sadly, I was served this “medley” just last week at a restaurant; I can’t believe “chefs” are still able to get away with this). I can’t stand cooked carrots to this day unless pureed into a soup and I almost never eat cauliflower.
As an adult and culinary explorer I’ve greatly expanded my repetoire of vegetables, usually buying whatever looks best. I eat spinach, asparagus, bell peppers, bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant (still a bit sparingly), mushrooms, zucchini, etc… Heck, I even tried bitter melon last summer!
But one vegetable I still shy away from is cauliflower. I successfully experimented with it a bit last winter (see Almond-Cauliflower Soup), but to be honest I’ll like anything if it’s pureed into a soup – yes, I have a tremendous weakness for soup!
So you can imagine my surprise last week when I started drooling – yes, drooling – over a photo of “Simple Cauliflower” on the blog 101 Cookbooks (check out the original post for more flavor ideas). I couldn’t get it out of my head for days, so I finally gave in and decided to make it. Luckily the recipe wasn’t much of an investment as the only ingredient I didn’t have on hand was the cauliflower, and I wasn’t expecting to like it.
Surprise again! I liked it, so much so that I ate the entire dish as an entree for dinner! I won’t go so far as to say this is my new favorite meal or anything, but it was enjoyable.
Now I can confidentally add cauliflower to the list of vegetables I like. I doubt it’ll ever be my favorite, but at least now know I can cook it and enjoy the results.
Simple Cauliflower, very slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks, makes 1 entree serving or 4 side dish servings
1 medium head cauliflower
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Begin by cutting the cauliflower into very small florets. Trim away any leaves then cut the head of cauliflower into quarters and cut off the stems. Continue trimming until only small “trees” remain.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook without stirring until the bottom side begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir the cauliflower and continue cooking until the cauliflower has browned a bit on all sides, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the salt and garlic and cook for 30 seconds then remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon zest and chives, mix well; season to taste. Spoon the cauliflower into a serving bowl and top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.