What’s in season now? Cauliflower! Snowy white, almost sculptural, in looks, I think cauliflower is one of the most overlooked vegetables in Canada.
To wit: Last week I attended an amazing feast at Toronto’s Beast restaurant, whereby a group of meat-loving Ontario chefs collaborated on a six-course all-vegetarian menu. One of my favourite courses, created by Geoff Hopgood, the chef at Toronto’s Hoof Café, was an incredibly creative take on cauliflower. He used the vegetable as he would an animal, taking advantage of every last part of it. He torched the outer leaves and ground them into sea salt to create a deliciously earthy finishing salt, wrapped the cauliflower cores in hay and roasted them, deep fried mini florets, made a silky creamy purée, a finely sliced raw salad, and more.
Inspired, I went home, and instead of roasting off my florets then tossing them in a lemony tahini dressing like I usually do, I tried something equally simple but new.
Cauliflower: Try it again for the first time.
(serves 4 to 6)
1 medium head cauliflower (about 5 cups worth)
4-5 oz. gorgonzola cheese
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Step 1: Cut the core out of the cauliflower and discard green parts (or torch them and grind the ash with Maldon sea salt to make a smoky finishing salt à la chef Geoff Hopgood), then cut the cauliflower into medium florets.
Step 2: Steam in a large pot with about a cup of water for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain water from pot.
Step 3: Mash cooked cauliflower in a pot with crumbled cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4: To a small frying pan, add butter, walnuts and breadcrumbs until it comes together as a toasty topping, about 1-2 minutes.
Step 5: Pour mashed cauliflower into a baking dish, scatter crumb topping on top, and broil in the oven until lightly browned.
Try more delicious cauliflower side dishes and curries.