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How to Store and Prepare Cauliflower

A very fresh head of cauliflower should be left unwashed, loosely wrapped or enclosed in a perforated vegetable bad and can be stored in the refrigerator vegetable drawer for three or four days. Prepared flowerets, again unwashed to prevent mold, can be enclosed in a perforated vegetable bag for a day or two.

To prepare a whole head, turn it upside down and, with sharp knife, remove much of the heavy core. Leave just enough to hold the curd together. Remove any little leaves from around and in between the flowerets. Rinse well and turn cut side down to drain. The core can be sliced or cut into matchstick strips and combined with broccoli stems cut into coins, strips of carrot, and sliced onions, served either raw in a vinaigrette or mayonnaise dressing , or simmered 5-6 minutes, drained and tossed in an aromatic butter sauce.

To prepare flowerets, remove the core, and with a sharp knife cut the curd into small flowerets, following the stems in the head. If the flowerets are to be cooked, try to make them all about the same size so they will cook evenly. Rinse them well and drain. If serving raw, I suggest drying them in a kitchen towel before arranging them on the crudites platter or in the salad bowl.

No matter how you serve cauliflower, whole head or in flowerets, it is important not to overcook it. Long cooking intensifies the flavor and can make it very unpleasant. Cooked cauliflower should be eaten as soon as it is crisply tender, or as soon as the dish is removed from the oven. Day old cauliflower not only leaves an odor in the refrigerator but can taste obnoxiously strong. Quick cooking also lessens the chance that the whole house will smell like cauliflowers. Some old time cooks used to cook a piece of bread with the cauliflower to eliminate the odor, but I find odor isn't much of a problem if the cooking time is short.

More about Cooking with Cauliflower


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