Ask The Chef

with Stephanie Goldfarb

Q: Our restaurant is looking for new and innovative ways to use common ingredients. What are your recommendations for Cauliflower?

A: Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables!  I recommend using it as:

• Tempura
• Mashed with whole roasted garlic, white beans, rosemary, and parmesan cheese
• Cauliflower gratin
• Chipotle-roasted cauliflower tacos

Cauliflower is delicate in flavor and sturdy enough to withstand most cooking methods. Where potatoes and rice once ruled the starch real estate on a dinner plate, cauliflower is moving in fast as the newer, leaner workhorse. Best of all, cauliflower is adaptable, soaking up any flavorful sauce, marinade, or spice rub. This means, however, that it can become easily water-logged. Whenever possible, avoid the steamer basket or pot of boiling water, unless you are softening it for another application like mashing. 

Sliced thinly lengthwise with both the stalk and florets intact, cauliflower loves to be dredged in seasoned rice flour and dunked in ice cold tempura batter, deep fried to crispy perfection. Served alongside a simple soy and chili paste sauce, lime wedges, and dusted with salt, this appetizer is sure to please and it is quick and inexpensive to prepare. Cauliflower mashed with whole roasted garlic cloves, white beans, rosemary, and parmesan cheese yields a thoughtful and intensely flavorful alternative to starchy mashed potatoes. The addition of egg and a little cracker meal or all-purpose flour transforms the mixture into the base for crispy, pan-fried cakes perfect as a side dish or adorned with over-easy eggs for brunch. Creamy cauliflower gratin is a major crowd pleaser and is especially nice fired in individual cast iron pans or ramekins. Marinated in chipotle in adobo and lime juice, cauliflower florets pan fried with onion and garlic are an excellent vegetarian taco option. 

About the Chef

Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.