"A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe." ~Thomas Keller
Since the beginning of the New Year, I've been on a bit of a cauliflower bender as part of a whole foods eating challenge. The goal is to omit refined sugars and "unsafe" carbohydrates from my diet. What I have discovered, and rather quickly I might add, is that cauliflower is the character actor of the vegetable crowd. My husband isn't a big fan of the vegetable. Nor my daughter. Therefore, over the years I've passed over cauliflower in favor of just about every other vegetable available, except Brussel sprouts. I'm still learning to like those little buggers and I confess that I am not trying very hard. Bacon can't even make those little cabbage heads worth eating.
Surprisingly, the fairly astringent flavor and blank-page look of cauliflower can transform into something almost unrecognizable from its God given form. In addition to being consumed raw, the florets can be transfigured through just about every cooking method imaginable, including: baking, boiling, braising, deep-frying, puréeing, roasting, sautéing, simmering, and steaming.
|My kitchen table is covered almost entirely with a week's worth of fruits and veggies.|
After consuming cauliflower in just about every way possible, including making the bagels, my favorite preparation, besides simply roasting florets in a very hot oven, is quickly shocking "riced" cauliflower in boiling water, then quickly stopping the cooking process in a cold water bath. This is the method I will use in the future when making cauli-rice for any dish, whether it's playing a supporting role for a stir fry, or is the lead ingredient for a side dish, such as this post for a cous cous inspired salad. If I try anything else cauliflower-wise in the near future I do believe my family will revolt.
Cauli-Rice Cous Cous Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
1 medium to large head cauliflower
Kosher salt, such as Diamond Crystal®
the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
the juice of one-half freshly squeezed orange
1 Tbsp Dijon or Gulden's mustard
2 Tbsps honey syrup or 1 Tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced, both white bulbs and green stems
1 large carrot, cut into quarters, thinly sliced into small pieces
1 medium celery stalk, cut in half lengthwise, thinly sliced into half moons
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1 generous handful parsley, minced
Kalamata olives, seeds removed and discarded, torn into smaller pieces
2 handfuls roasted cashews
fine meshed sieve
1. Make the vinaigrette by combining lemon juice, orange juice, mustard, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Set aside until ready to use.
2. Bring a soup pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, remove the outer leaves of cauliflower and discard. Cut the cauliflower in quarters. Remove and discard the stem. Slice the cauliflower to cut the cauliflower in somewhat uniform pieces. Add the cauliflower pieces to a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse the cauliflower 8 or 9 times until the cauliflower looks like rice.
3. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
4. Once the water is boiling, heavily salt it so it is salty like the ocean. Carefully add the cauliflower to the water and let the "rice" cook for 90 seconds. Pour the blanched cauliflower into a fine mesh strainer. Place the strainer with the cauliflower directly into the ice water bath. Stir with a spoon so the ice water can circulate through the "rice" to stop the cooking. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the sieve and place it in a colander to drain. Use the spoon to release moisture. Gently squeeze handfuls of the riced cauliflower to release as much water as possible.
|I was also working on homemade sauerkraut, hence the bowl of |
cabbage and the fermenting crock in the background.
|This tickled my funny bone.|