Cauliflower Pie

April 30, 2007

Cauliflower 'Pie'

Cauliflower can be one of the less inspiring veggies to appear in the virgin veg box. Its tendency to disintegrate into an unpalatable mealy mush is one of its less endearing features.

One recipe that takes this feature of C-flower and transforms it into a virtue is the ‘Cauliflower Pie’ from the hardcore food-porn masterpiece that is Twelve.

I’m at work at the moment and can’t remember the exact details, but the basics of this recipe are:

  • make 1/2 pint of thickish bechamel sauce
  • boil a whole cauliflower till tender, then chop finely
  • add the cauliflower to the sauce, along with a couple of eggs, seasoning, a grating of nutmeg, and a generous handful of grated Parmesan
  • butter an oven dish, sprinkle fine breadcrumbs in the bottom, then pour in the mixture and sprinkle more crumbs on the top
  • bake in a medium-low oven for 30-40 minutes, until the top is nicely browned

It was grand cut into square slices and served with spicy Spanish sausage and a big, peppery clump of watercress.

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I agree with Spinning Jenni’s comment on a previous post that Romanesco has a better flavour than the common or garden cauliflower. It’s also got a firmer texture and a brighter colour. To my mind it’s definitely an upgrade on the basic version. A kind of Veg 2.0.

Frittata

This evening we made an Italian frittata with it, adding onions, parmesan and the last of the serrano ham Maths chick brought back from Essex-on-the-Med (otherwise known as the Costa Blanca).

Frittata with Romanesco, onions and serrano ham

  • Slice the onions thinly and saute gently until very soft in olive oil
  • Cut the romanesco into individual fractals and steam until just tender
  • Whisk together 5 or 6 eggs. Add a good handful of grated parmesan, seasoning and, if you’ve got any, some slivers of Serrano or Parma ham
  • Mix the egg, onion and cauliflower together
  • Heat a deepish frying pan on a low heat, add a knob of butter and, once it’s started foaming, add the egg mixture
  • Cook very slowly for about 15 minutes until just set. Flash under a hot grill to finish cooking the top surface.

My friend Jos is always claiming that life is too short to stuff a mushroom. While cooking this frittata I started thinking of dishes that, good as they may be, I just can’t imagine ever being bothered to attempt at home. Here’s my list-in-progress…

  1. Gnocchi
  2. Puff pastry
  3. Scotch eggs
  4. Consomme
  5. Pork pie
  6. Any dish that needs to be started more than 24 hours in advance
  7. Any recipe that requires over 12 ingredients

Maths chick marking

And maths chick looked up from her marking long enough to chip in with these additions…

  1. My broad bean pod puree
  2. Anything deep-fried (huh?)
  3. Meringues

Mind you, it only takes 5 minutes to stuff a mushroom. Life’s not that short.

Fractal cauliflower

Men have fickle hearts. No sooner has my last true love been wet-rubbed with olive oil and lovingly steamed, than this little teaser turned up. It fluttered its fractals at me, and my heart melted. Now Maths chick is starting to get suspicious about my secretive midnight trips to the kitchen.

According to our resident Romany, Romanasco cauliflowers are perfect examples of Fibonacci spirals occuring in nature. So there you go. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

My beautiful cauliflower

October 14, 2006

Cauliflower

In the cult student movie Withnail and I, mad Uncle Monty declares, “I happen to think the cauliflower more beautiful than the rose.” I’d never really subscribed to his point of view until this fine specimen arrived in our box today.

Ain’t she a beauty? Don’t she deserve to be cooked and eaten in a fine old style? Unfortunately my cauliflower repetoire runs no further than aloo gobi and cauliflower cheese.

Now I’m relying on you let to help me out here. Cough up yer best ‘flower recipe. The winning recipe gets a years free subscription to the Veg Box Diary RSS feed.