Cauliflower

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When I was a kid, cauliflower was served one way…boiled to the point of watery softness, encased in the cheesy goodness of Velveeta. And, I loved it.  I’ve been a cauliflower lover since the first time it was dished up on my plate.

Over the years, I have eaten it more ways that I can count.  Fried, boiled, baked, steamed, roasted, raw, mixed with other vegetables. My most favorite is in Indian cooking. Whenever I go to an Indian restaurant, I have to have a cauliflower dish.

I was looking around for a quick and easy recipe for cauliflower the other evening. It is the middle of summer and I didn’t want to put gallons of steam into the already humid air. I also did not want to turn on the oven. This recipe seemed perfect, so, I gave it a try.

It was a keeper.  I love it when I stumble across a great recipe (an hour before mealtime). Funny thing is, you never know it is going to be a great one until you actually give it a try. This recipe was no exception. It read like it would be good and I had all the ingredients on hand. Let’s give it a try!

The finished dish was every bit as good as any cauliflower dish I had gotten at an Indian restaurant…minus the plethora of spices that only an Indian dish would contain. This recipe did not disappoint. It was the fresh ingredients, the “not overcooked” cauliflower, the finish of parmigiano reggiano. Give this a try. I think you will love it.

Simple Cauliflower Recipe

from 101 Cookbooks (with just a couple of minor changes for ease of prep)

1 medium head of cauliflower

2 tablespoons olive oil

a couple pinches of sea salt (I used kosher salt because it is what I had on hand)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped (I snipped some from my garden, it looked to be about 3 tablespoons after I minced it)

zest of one lemon (I didn’t have any lemons on hand. If I had a lemon I would have used it)

freshly grated parmesan

a bit of flaky sea salt (again, I used just a pinch more of kosher salt)

To prep the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trip the stem. Now cut it into tiny trees – and by tiny, I mean most florets aren’t much larger than a grape, like the green grapes you get at the grocery store. 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.

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Heat the olive oil and the first couple pinches of salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated.  Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula.  Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden – all told, about six minutes.

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When done, stir in the garlic and remove from the heat.  Now, stir in the chives, lemon zest and just give it a dusting of the grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 2 or 3 as a side.

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