2 Reasons To Love This Versatile Vegetable

Photo: Courtesy of Tasting Table.
By Anna Stockwell

Chefs have been trying especially hard to make cauliflower cool over the past couple of years.

No longer the mushy, bland side dish of dinnertimes past, the cruciferous vegetable has been, for a couple of years, playfully sliced into thick "steaks" and served beautifully caramelized. Now, there's a roasted whole-head-of-cauliflower thing happening at some of our favorite restaurants (Domenica and Aldo Sohm, we're looking at you).

But, whether or not cauliflower is an of-the-moment ingredient doesn't really matter — roasting the brassica to golden perfection is a wintertime treat. Brad Farmerie, executive chef of the AvroKo Hospitality Group (NYC's PUBLICSaxon + Parole), agrees: He believes in the importance of cool techniques over cool ingredients. So, he was the guy to call to devise two entirely different methods — one slow, one quick — to cook the vegetable.

Related: Two Takes On Brussels Sprouts 

Both are right in his wheelhouse: Farmerie, too, has served roasted cauliflower "a million and one ways." His slower version is actually inspired by his wife, who cooks a similar dish at home that pairs the vegetable with a chunky watercress-and-cashew dressing.
Photo: Courtesy of Tasting Table.
Farmerie throws the dressing into the blender, puréeing everything until the cashews form a smooth emulsion for a deliciously fresh and creamy (and vegan!) sauce to pair with curry-roasted cauliflower and red onion. This simple but clever twist makes appearances on the menu at Saxon + Parole, and it's clear why: When the florets start to crisp, they bring out the rich, earthy spice of the curry — and when they're paired with an acidic but rich green dressing, new levels of greatness are achieved.

For his quick version, Farmerie pulls from a technique he learned in England way back in the '90s, turning cauliflower into "couscous" by pulsing it in a food processor, then blanching it and tossing it with lemon, herbs, almonds, and chopped olives. Served warm or cold, it's a wonderfully bright, simple, and satisfying side that's on and off the menu at PUBLIC in various versions, often with fish or roasted carrots on top. Oh, and for those who are trying to clean up their acts this year, it's gluten-free, too.

One recipe may take longer than the other, but both are delicious ways to cook the beloved brassica. Go on: It's time to live cruciferously. 

Get The Recipes: 
Curry-Roasted Cauliflower with Watercress-Cashew Dressing
Cauliflower Couscous with Green Olives and Almonds

More from Food & Drinks