Friday, May 29, 2009


This is a post dedicated to cauliflower. Note there is no cheese sauce or steaming in this entry.

I took the photo above back on February 10th. It was a roasted cauliflower recipe (though this was before the broccoli recipe, it was the same idea) that went horribly, horribly wrong. The cauliflower was dry and required a great deal of salt just to make it edible. To top it off, I had burnt the rice I made to go with it.

That experience was enough for me to want to take a break from cauliflower forever. But Heidi at 101Cookbooks convinced me to give it another try.

She posted a "Simple Cauliflower Recipe", and I have to say, I am a cauliflower convert. It was flavorful and delicious--oh, and cheap! I've even broken down the prices in the ingredient list (though I did not include prices for staples like olive oil and salt). I may have made out better than most being that I was able to go the West Side Market before closing time today, but I'd guess prices would be similar at other farmer's markers. Also, keep in mind there was plenty of garlic, green onions, and Parmesan cheese left over.

It would make a great side to some roast or grilled chicken breast, despite it being great on its own. I would be curious to toss it with some pasta, too.

Pan-Toasted Cauliflower
Serves 2 to 3 as a side, 1 if you're me

1 medium head of cauliflower ($0.75)
2 Tb olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic ($0.99)
1-2 inches from a bunch of green onions ($0.49)
Zest of one lemon ($0.25)
Grated Parmesan ($0.89)

1. To prep the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trim the stem. Now cut it into tiny trees - and by tiny, I mean most florets aren't much larger than a table grape (listen, I didn't think she was serious either. But the smaller the pieces the better. Use your hands, not your knife, to break apart the florets). Make sure the pieces are relatively equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. Rinse under running water, and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil and a heavy pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot (throw a piece of cauliflower in there at the beginning. When it begins to bubble around it, it's hot enough), add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated.

3. Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula (No, really, wait! It's hard and you're worried they're burning, but try not to turn them too much). Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden - all told about six minutes. In the last 30 seconds stir in the garlic.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the green onions, lemon zest, and dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. Serve immediately.

Heidi has some great variations on this recipe here, so be sure to check them out. Also, the total cost for this recipe, with ingredients to spare, was $3.37. Let's also not forget that cauliflower is a pretty healthy option, too.

I've been having a great time exploring West Side Market, and you'll be hearing all about the fresh pasta from Ohio City Pasta soon!

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