The moment Leanne Kitchen tells me that she has been roasting cauliflower since the early 80s she has my respect. At the time I am sure many of were still over cooking our cauli in a pot of boiling water and then drowning it in cheese sauce. With years of cooking, styling, travelling, writing and photographing food I guess that Leanne was always going to be at the forefront of trends and taste.
There is not doubt about it that cauliflower is currently enjoying a moment and much of this is possibly attributed to whoever realised that blitzing cauliflower in the food processor would create fine granules that could be used as a substitute for rice. Perfect for those wanting to reduce their carbohydrate intake. Similarly those same grains can be combined with a few other ingredients and pressed to form a pizza base, low carb and no gluten.
The bloggers in the blogosphere are loving it and have raised the popularity of cauliflower so much that it truly is enjoying an elevated status – Cauliflower is King!
Has anyone else noticed how incensed we get when due to weather and seasonality the price of cauliflower elevates? Once upon a time it would have barely caused a flicker.
Forgetting carbohydrates, cauliflowers are actually really good for us, they are rich in a nutrient called choline, an excellent brain food, helping to repair and maintain cell membranes (as quoted from CIK). Mix that in with a healthy dose of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals and you have all the reasons to include cauls’s in your cooking. Oh and of course it tastes good – not just good but delicious!
While the English were giving cauli’s a bad rap by boiling them to within an inch of their life (and further), other cultures around the world were making delicious recipes that have stood the test of time. It is variations on these delicious recipes that Leanne Kitchen embraces in Cauliflower is King. While the English get the credit for cauliflower to India, it is the Indians that created cauliflower curries, Dahl, kedgeree and bhaji, all of which you will find in the book.
The Italians, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooks have always revered cauliflower and treated it accordingly, partnering it with exotic spices herbs and oil without a pan of boiling water in sight. Whole Roast Cauliflower with Zhough, Tahini Cream and Pomegranate is high on my list of what to make next.
Cauliflower is King contains 70 cauliflower recipes, predominantly savoury but you will also find cauliflower smuggled into a Lime and Coconut Cheesecake and a Chocolate Brownie.
There is loads of extra info and the book has a smart contemporary style.
The gold foil edged pages had me in a second and that was before I slowly savoured every page.
If you would like to win one of 3 copies of
Cauliflower is King by Leanne Kitchen (Published by Murdoch Books) RRP $22.99
Then simply leave a comment at the bottom of this or enter your details on our win page.
This will be drawn August 30th and sent out to NZ addresses only.
If you don’t want to deep-fry, no worries… Spread the cauli on a paper-lined tray and spray with olive oil; bake in a 190°C (375°F) oven for 30 minutes for crisp cauli that’s lower in fat and delicious. (Arguably, not QUITE as delicious, but it’s your call.) You’ll need a tortilla press here.
Makes 12 tacos
270 g (9½ oz) masa harina
800 g (1 lb 12 oz/about 1 small) cauliflower, trimmed
2 eggs, beaten well
150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
1½ teaspoons chilli powder
1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
2 ripe avocados
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons lime juice, or to taste
RED CABBAGE SLAW
½ small red cabbage, trimmed, cored and finely shredded
1 carrot, very finely shredded
Handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped
170 ml (5½ fl oz/2⁄3 cup) whole-egg mayonnaise
For the tacos, combine the masa harina with 300 ml (10½ fl oz) water in a bowl and using a fork, mix to combine until a soft, pliable dough forms. Add a little more masa harina if it is too soft, or more water if too firm. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and roll each into a ball. Open your tortilla press and cover the base with baking paper. Place a ball in the centre and cover with another sheet of baking paper. Firmly close the tortilla press then open, turn the taco in the paper 180 degrees and gently press again to make an even thickness. Peel off the top layer of paper, turn the taco over and carefully peel away the other layer of paper. Place on a baking paper-lined tray and repeat with the remaining dough.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and cook the tacos, in batches, for 1 minute on each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover with a damp tea towel to keep them soft and pliable.
For the guacamole, combine all the ingredients in a food processor, season well with salt and pepper and process until smooth, adding a little extra lime juice if necessary.
For the red cabbage slaw, mix all the ingredients in a bowl until the vegetables are coated with mayonnaise. Add more mayonnaise to taste and season well.
Preheat the ovento 120°C (235°F).
Cut the cauliflower into 1 cm (½ inch) pieces. Whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl. Mix together the flour, spices, oregano, salt and pepper in another bowl.
Heat about 6 cm (2½ inches) of oil, or enough to deep-fry, in a large saucepan to 160°C (315°F) or until a cube of bread turns golden in 60 seconds. Working in batches, toss the cauliflower in the egg mixture to coat well, allowing excess to drain off. Toss to coat in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour. Deep-fry the cauliflower, in batches, for 7–8 minutes or until tender, crisp and golden. Keep warm in the oven on a plate lined with paper towel while you cook the remaining cauliflower.
To serve, fill each taco with some coleslaw, guacamole and fried cauliflower.
Check out more from Leanne and the team at Red Pork Press, well known for food travel publishing.