Thursday, April 24, 2014

Romaneso Cauliflower with Fresh Green Garlic, Coconut Curry Tempeh, Tomato and Basil on Lemon Rosemary Bread (Almost No Added Fat)

I like the shape and form of Romanesco cauliflower - and it tastes fine, too. It's actually an older variety of cauliflower than the standard white one and has been grown in Italy for at least 500 years - but only commercially grown in California since the 1990s. But I don't buy it often as it's usually expensive. My wife picked some up a few days ago, so I wanted to highlight it in a meal, which I did tonight.

I found a nice recipe online, garlic and lemon roasted Romanesco cauliflower and decided to use it to help me get started on a main course. I also served some strips of coconut curry tempeh (I used maybe half a teaspoon of oil to brown the tempeh - hence the "almost no added fat"), and slices of tomato, basil, and olive atop lemon rosemary bread. Here is what I did for the main course:

  • Head of Romanesco cauliflower, florets removed. This would probably work just as well with regular (white) or yellow cauliflower (I wouldn't use purple unless I had some light and contrasting colored ingredients).
  • About 2T of green garlic chopped into a 1/4" dice. I happened to get this immature garlic at the local farmer's market on the way home today, but a clove of garlic or, perhaps better and milder, a small shallot bulb, could definitely be substituted.
  • About 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, cut into 1/2" chunks.
  • Juice of one small tangerine.
  • Pinch of salt and 1/4 to 1/2 t dried tarragon.
  • (Optional) Mint chiffonade of three leaves (three mint leaves stacked, rolled, and cut into maybe 1/4" strips); this added a nice flavor but I only thought of it as I also picked some up at the farmer's market today
  • (Optional) Bit of diced jalapeno, according to personal preference.

  1. In a small stainless steel stock pan, I put half of the garlic (or shallot) and sautéed with no oil over medium heat just for a minute and a half or so, to soften the garlic and release fragrance. (If using regular garlic, I'd add it all at this point.)
  2. I then added the cauliflower and continued to stir for another 2 minutes or so, slightly darkening the cauliflower.
  3. I added the roasted red pepper and stirred for half a minute.
  4. I added the juice, salt, tarragon, and jalapeno. I stirred, then covered the pan and let the food simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes till the juice was almost all absorbed.
  5. The cauliflower was now fairly soft; I mixed in the other half of the garlic (or shallot; if using regular garlic, all would have been added in the first step), stirred, and recovered the pan and let it sit, off the heat, for a few minutes to let the flavors finalize their "marriage". (I hadn't thought of this, but a little bit of ginger added at this point or with the jalapeno would have been a welcome and healthful addition.)
  6. I served along with the other dishes.
  7. Last Step

I had made a simple pizza and raw kale for my daughter, so I was able to use the jalapeno. My wife and I quite liked the dish! Perhaps because of the yellowish tinge, it reminded us of an Indian cauliflower dish. It was quite good! The dinner worked well together and was tasty and filling.

Ideas for the future

I probably will only occasionally use Romanesco or purple cauliflower - they're not available year-round here and are expensive. I hope to continue to experiment with new ways to prepare Romanesco cauliflower when I do buy it. Purple cauliflower tastes a lot like white cauliflower - I should make more regular cauliflower dishes, such as in stews or roasted and mashed.


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