Sunday, April 1, 2012

ChezCindy: Cruciferous Vegetables - Friend or foe?

Brown Butter Cauliflower-Tomato Sauté

There are 2 camps when it comes to cruciferous vegetables - people either love them or hate them.  There's usually no middle ground. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts to name just a few.  Many people have invited broccoli to the table, but it is still not fully embraced like the green bean.  Which is too bad because these vegetables are called "super-vegetables" being high in vitamins and nutrients, fiber, with huge anti-cancer properties. 

Cauliflower is a favorite of mine.  Most often I do a quick sauté to brown planks of cauliflower, then lightly dust with parmesan cheese.  There are only 4 ingredients: cauliflower, butter, kosher salt and a small amount of grated cheese.  Here I have used orange cauliflower and added yellow tomatoes. 

Because the cooking process is quick over high heat, it losses the bitter, strong tastes that people don't like about these vegetables.  The butter brings out a nutty. sweet flavor, using the cheese just as garnish.   I  cook the entire head of cauliflower and store it in the refrigerator, re-heating it as a side dish, adding it to an omelet for dinner, or combining with pasta.

Brown Butter Cauliflower
Working with a head of cauliflower, remove the green leaves, stems and core.  Slice the head in half.  Then slice into planks, providing a flat surface area so that the cauliflower will have good contact with the pan.

Next, using a large non-stick saute pan, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, place over medium-high heat.  Allow the pan to get hot, melting the butter, but not sizzling.  Add the planks of cauliflower in a single layer so that all of the pieces have contact with the pan, filling in with the little bits that have crumbled.  With a large head, you may need to do this in small batches, adding more butter as needed.  Do not stir or turn for several minutes.  Using tongs, peek at the cooked side of the cauliflower plank to see if it has browned like in the picture below.  As each plank has browned, turn over so that each piece has become beautifully browned.  This just takes a few minutes. 

Add the tomatoes, if using, and continue browning.  As the second side browns, sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper if desired.  Grate the parmesan cheese over the top and serve.

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