From a nutritional perspective, cauliflower contains many glucosinolates, which trigger the body’s own antioxidant systems, and which Italian researchers have found suppress breast-cancer cell growth. Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, vitamin B6 and B5, folate, and fiber. And if that is not enough, consider that cauliflower, along with its cousin broccoli, are low in carbohydrates, if that is something that you’re watching.
One easy way to prepare cauliflower is as a delicious salad; steam the entire head – cut-side down – let it cool, then dress it with lemon juice, olive oil and a little salt and pepper. If you are particularly sensitive to the smell of cooking cauliflower, add a slice of bread to the pot; it will be less offending. Cauliflower makes a delicious mash, reminiscent of potatoes, and simple to prepare. Steam the cauliflower until it is tender enough to be mashed, add some butter, lemon and salt… delicious. Jessica’s favorite way to prepare cauliflower (and convert cauliflower skeptics across the country) is to roast them. Clean and cut a head of cauliflower into eighths, roughly 1/2-inch-thick wide. Layer on a baking pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast, covered, in the oven at 475 F for about 30 minutes, uncovering and turning them at 10 minutes, turning again at 20 minutes, and removing them from the oven once they begin to caramelize. Or, simply roast them at 450F, turning once, and serve with paprika, chopped parsley leaves and sherry vinegar for a sharp and savory taste, or curry powder, fresh lemon juice and cilantro leaves for an Indian-inspired dish, or cayenne pepper, toasted pine nuts and fresh lime juice for those who like it hot and sweet. The variations are practically unlimited.
One word of caution, however, for those of us sensitive to gout. Along with all the good stuff it contains, cauliflower also contains purines which most of us break down into uric acid and pass through our bodies. In some people the removal mechanism doesn’t work exactly right and uric acid builds up, causing painful episodes of gout.
If you aren’t suffering from gout, and if you’re looking to add some white to your beautiful rainbow next time you’re at the market, don’t feel bad about it. Come and cook with us!