Flower Food

Move over, kale! Cauliflower is the new darling of restaurants and foodies! Just as Brussels sprouts have had their day in the sun, cauliflower is now popping up on menus. It’s being served raw, roasted, or Chinese stir-fried. It’s been used as a substitute for potatoes and other starches, replacing the dough in dishes like pizza.

Cauliflower is extremely low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. It has a high content of vitamin C and moderate levels of several B vitamins and vitamin K. It is also high in phytonutrients, but these are compromised by boiling. Stir-frying or roasting cauliflower is the way to go.

Cauliflower Pizza

For the crust:
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets, or 16 ounces frozen, defrosted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup pizza sauce (recipe follows)
For the pizza sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
Kosher salt

For the pizza: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor to a fine snowy powder (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Transfer to a steamer and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove and place on a dry kitchen towel and allow to cool.

When cool enough to handle, wrap the cauliflower in the towel and wring out as much moisture as possible. In a large bowl, stir together the cauliflower, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, egg and 1 cup of the mozzarella until well combined. Transfer to the lined baking pan and form into a 10-inch circle. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Prepare the sauce: Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and onions and stir. Cook until the onions are soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the brown sugar, crushed pepper flakes and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool and purée the sauce using an immersion blender.

Remove the crust from the oven and spread the sauce and remaining mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 10 minutes more.

Spiced Cauliflower

With Sesame Seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
2 medium onions, finely sliced
Kosher salt
12 ounces cauliflower (thawed if using frozen), thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 green jalapeno, seeds
removed, diced
2–3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
Kosher salt

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the cumin and onions, along with a few pinches of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions caramelize and turn lightly golden, about 7-10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, garlic, and half the ginger. Continue to cook for another minute. Add the cauliflower and stir well. Cover the pan and cook the cauliflower over low-medium heat for 3 minutes, until just tender.

When the cauliflower is nearly cooked, remove the lid, turn up the flame, and stir in the jalapenos and remaining ginger. Salt to taste, sprinkle with basil, and serve.

Spicy Cauliflower Stir Fry

3 cups cauliflower florets
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

Break the cauliflower into very small florets.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add the oil, then the cauliflower and garlic. Stir the cauliflower around in the pan, allowing it to get very brown in some areas. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn down the heat.

Add the soy sauce, lime juice and scallions. Stir for 1 minute, then add the hot sauce and stir until incorporated. Serve with lime wedges.

One should consult a Rav regarding checking of problematic fruits or vegetables for infestation.