Saturday, November 04, 2006

Orange Cauliflower (Roman Style)

I'd occasionally seen these stunning orange cauliflower, along with some dramatic deep purple cauliflower, at our local farmers market. Even though their color held much appeal, their $6 price tag put me off.

Then I read cookiecrumb's recent post on the yellow-orange variety. It hadn't occurred to me that the orange cauliflower not only looked different, but tasted different. I've always loved cauliflower, so I just had to try these for myself.

The farmers' market vendor was already describing the purple and orange cauliflower to a delighted shopper. He explained that he produced the purple ones by feeding the plant a good cabernet and the orange ones, a fine cheddar. Both, he said, were sweeter than your typical white and the orange ones were sweeter than the purple.

In fact, the orange variety were developed by Michael Dickson, a crucifer breeder at Cornell University. A mutant orange cauliflower found in Canada was forwarded to Dickson in 1981. He then crossbred the orange mutant with a tasty white cauliflower to create the sweet orange variety found in markets today. This orange variety contains more beta carotene and 25 times as much Vitamin A as the white variety. (Source: Cornell University NYSAES) This post, therefore, is this week's contribution to Sweetnick's Sweetnicks ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday (ARF=Antioxidant Rich Food).

So, how did it taste? It was, in fact, slightly sweeter than a white cauliflower. I tried it raw, and then cooked it, along with some broccolini, chard, and tofu in the Roman Style (with garlic & lemon). This treatment was pretty and delicious:

I was tempted to go with a goat cheese sauce, but when I found this recipe in Bittman's The Best Recipes In the World, I knew it would a) be a winner b) showcase the flavour of the vegetables. It was simple and delicious - I added pine nuts and tofu and this meal was a treat!

Cauliflower, Broccolini, Chard, & Tofu Roman Style (adapted from The Best Recipes In the World):

1 cauliflower, cut into florettes
8 oz broccolini
4 chard leaves, torn
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz tofu, cut into small cubes
zest & juice of one lemon

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add cauliflower florettes (and peeled broccolini stems if desired) and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add broccolini flowers and cook 1 minute. Add torn chard and cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook garlic for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the tofu and cook for 1 minute. Turn up the heat to high and add the drained vegetables. Season. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to brown. Add lemon zest and cook 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook one more minute. Serve hot or cold with a light red and some salty olives.


Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Perfect photo to establish the color! Cute.
I love your choice of recipe, too. A little tofu would be Dandy in a cauliflower dish.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi cookie - it was worth the $6! Next time Purple! Thanks for the tip!

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Not seen these before! They are certainly more aesthetically pleasing than the white ones!


12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$6 !? I bought one of these in April for a special dinner. It was more expensive, but not quite as much as yours. This dish looks great!

5:13 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

dori - it is insanely expensive. I might get another for a Thanksgiving dish. While the taste was sweeter, its the color that makes this so appealing.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Beautiful photo on top, Catherine. I love the simplicity of the recipe and am saving it to my file right now.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Alanna Kellogg said...

Can't wait to find one of these ...

11:54 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Christine - I really loved this - it was very simple.

AK - I've only seen them from one farmers' market vendor, so good luck.

9:43 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Very nicely done, Catherine.

I will be trying it with white cauliflower, though. While I usually get excited about alternately-colored vegetables, orange cauliflower is an exception. It looks to me like it has been allowed to rust.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Chocolate Lady - ha! I'm sure it will be delicious with white cauliflower too!

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just purchased a head of purple and one of orange at Kroger, 2 for 3 dollars!

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just bought some at the 99 cent store - for? 99 cents. Haven't tried it yet, but will tonight.

1:46 PM  

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