In Season: No More Wallflower Cauliflower

Posted at 8:30 AM Oct 08, 2009

By Kathleen Willcox

Cauliflower. It sounds like some sort of dreaded, hysteria-induced, Victorian-era disease involving fainting, hives and shrieks, cured only with a grim regimen of blood-letting.

Broccoli's ugly little cousin, a pallid and silent wallflower in the noisome cruciferous community, is quite capable of singing a sensuous siren song of her own, given the right stage of textures and spices from which she can issue her aria.

The beginning of fall is the perfect time to snag a big head of cauliflower at your local market and get to know it a bit better. I love using cauliflower in creamy, spicy soups. I'll often enjoy a piping hot bowl with a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner or a simple tossed salad for lunch.  I'm going to make this one tonight and settle into my couch with a big blanket and a stack of unread magazines. Bliss.

No More Wallflower Cauliflower Recipe
Serves 4

4 C vegetable stock
2 TBSP vegetable oil (I like it better than olive in this recipe because it won't overpower the aromatics and spices)
½ a yellow onion, diced
3 leeks, diced (wash carefully and only use the white parts; I often have to let the leeks sit in water for a few minutes, rinse and repeat before they're completely clean)
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP curry powder
½ t ground coriander
¼ t red pepper flakes
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced
½ t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
1 large head cauliflower, tough stems and all leaves removed, tender stems diced, florets broken up into small bite-size pieces (reserve a handful for garnish)
½ C whole milk
½ C yogurt (if using fat-free, use Greek or Icelandic yogurt)

For garnish, any of the following: grated carrots, chopped chives, cauliflower florets, crème fraiche.


  • Heat oil in a large, sturdy pan that can hold several cups of liquid. When hot, add onions, and reduce heat to low-medium, stirring often. Add salt. Sweat the onions for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add leeks, curry and coriander. Sweat for another 2 minutes, add carrots, another dash of salt and cook, stirring often, making sure very little browning develops.
  • Add the diced apple, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook out the liquid on low. Should take about 3 minutes.
  • Add stock, bring to boil.
  • Add cauliflower, milk and yogurt, reduce to simmer. Simmer until cauliflower is tender (taste with the tip of a knife), about 20 minutes. Add more stock or water if it's too thick.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Blend in batches in food processor or standard blender.
  • Return everything to the pan, heat briefly until warm, garnish and serve.
  • Happy eating!


Pete said:

In a vegetable dip array my three favorite are broccoli, cauliflaur and green peppers. Broccoli gets a bad rap but cauliflaur even worse. I didg me some coliflower.

© 2014 Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy