When It Comes to Cauliflower, We've (Thankfully) Come A Long Way

It’s incredible what good marketing, time, and proper cooking techniques can do for a vegetable. Not long ago, cauliflower was on every child’s fear list, and was scarcely present on restaurant menus. Most of us were either boiling it to death, or serving it unceremoniously raw on crudite platters.

We know better now. Cauliflower can withstand deep frying, broiling, searing, and pureeing. It is inexpensive, has a long shelf-life, and acts as a deliciously porous sponge, soaking up aromatics and spices like a champ.

Deep fried florets coated in flour and cornstarch tops my charts and can be adorned with General Tso’s or Buffalo Wing-style sauces. Roasting cauliflower retains its inviting texture while imparting deep caramelization. Toss florets in olive oil, fresh chopped garlic, oregano, and onion powder and roast until they turn brown and crispy for an irresistible side dish.

Cauliflower is also perfect for purees and mashes because its starch content adds richness and body. Pureed soups, like butternut squash, benefit enormously from the addition of cauliflower. If your diners love mashed potatoes, they will also love cauliflower mashed with white beans and cloves of whole, roasted garlic.

This healthier alternative packs in flavor and can be made far in advance, unlike mashed potatoes. No matter what the application, just make sure you choose fresh cauliflower with firmly bound florets that don’t have a ton of dark patches on it.

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.