Cauliflower, like brussels sprouts, had a bad reputation for a long time … that is, until the “foodie revolution” slapped cooks upside their collective heads and made them stop boiling, over-cooking, or under-seasoning vegetables.
My 3-course menu was Cauliflower Pizza Bianco served with welcome cocktails, followed by a Cauliflower Salad with Tuna and Lemon-Anchovy Dressing. The main course was Pasta with Cauliflower Pink Sauce — and, hey we’re Italian, so I had to add sausage, peppers and sautéed mushrooms as an additional dish to serve with the entree.
Cauliflower Pizza Bianco
roasted cauliflower, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, ricotta, roasted garlic, seasoned panko crumbs, hazelnuts (roasted and peeled), lemon zest, rosemary, crumbled bacon
Pre-bake pizza crust to light golden brown. Meantime, mix ricotta with bacon, roasted garlic, lemon zest and dry seasonings. Mix breadcrumbs with hazelnuts, rosemary and lemon zest. Layer ricotta cheese mixture on pizza crust, top with roasted cauliflower, sprinkle breadcrumbs mix and grate fresh mozzarella over top. Return to oven or place under broiler for a few minutes till cheese melts and crumbs toast.
Finishing Touch: Red chili flakes, chopped parsley and lemon zest.
Cauliflower Salad with Tuna and Lemon-Anchovy Dressing
raw cauliflower, black olives, carrots, fennel, red onion, red and yellow pepper, Italian parsley, lemon zest and capers with imported wild caught tuna fillets (jar) and lemon-anchovy dressing
Break cauliflower into small florets. Mince all other vegetables. Add tuna fillets and toss with dressing (fresh lemon juice, lemon rind, garlic-infused olive oil, dash of hot sauce, anchovy paste and fresh lemon juice). Add dry seasonings.
Finishing Touch: Fresh squeeze of lemon, chopped parsley and red chili flakes.
Pasta with Cauliflower ‘Pink’ Sauce
roasted cauliflower, tomatoes and garlic pureed with chicken broth, parmesan and a little olive oil
Roast cauliflower, tomatoes and garlic with olive oil and dry seasonings until soft. Puree with chicken broth, parmesan and a little olive oil. Although the cauliflower is not immediately visible, it is the star of this dish.
Finishing Touch: Freshly ground pink peppercorns, extra grated parmesan and basil.
And here’s a taste for you!
Note: I’ve made variations of the pizza and salad many times before, but the pink sauce was a new idea. Trust me, it’s a ‘must-try’. It’s sort of like a coarse cream sauce. The pureed roasted cauliflower substitutes for cream and butter and, because it’s roasted, adds a ton of flavor.
Laz will post the round-up on August 30. Can’t wait to see what everyone does.
Visit our pinterest board.