Regular white cauliflower remains a popular winter vegetable in the Netherlands. In fact, bloemkool
, as it's known in Dutch, is so beloved here in Holland that it is available at pretty much every supermarket and greengrocer throughout the year.
The popularity of the white variety makes it easy to forget that this
also comes in purple and green, and in varieties such as Romanesco. In her book, Smaakvrienden ('Taste Friends'), Dutch masterchef Angelique Schmeink explains that this yellow-green cauliflower tastes best when steamed or cooked whole. She instructs that steaming is preferable, because purple and green cauliflower varieties lose their color when boiled. When cooking a cauliflower whole, she advises to cut a cross into the stalk. Otherwise, remove the stalk and break the cauliflower into florets prior to cooking. She also offers an invaluable tip for cooking white cauliflower; boil it in water with sea salt and a good dash of milk. Apparently, this will keep the cauliflower snow white.
While cauliflower is most often boiled and enjoyed with béchamel sauce and nutmeg in the Netherlands, the veg actually has a wide range of 'taste friends' in the Northern- and Southern European kitchens, and pairs well with flavors from Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines, according to the noted chef. So, for instance, Smaakvrienden pairs cauliflower with ingredients ranging from
Argan oil, Frisian Clove Cheese, caviar and
Parma ham to lemongrass.
7 Cauliflower pairings
Cook white cauliflower by boiling it in water with salt and a little milk until
al dente. Top with grated young Dutch goat's cheese (jonge geitenkaas) and sprinkle with ras el hanout spice. Place under the grill until the cheese is melted. Serve with cornichons.
Serve panna cotta of cauliflower, spiced with vadouvan, with
salsa verde, sheep's milk cheese from the Dutch island of Texel and toast points (also called
Make a salad with cauliflower florets that have been cooked al dente. Toss with a
lemon vinaigrette, oyster leaves (a fleshy plant that grows on the coasts of North-West Europe and tastes of oyster, hence its name) and slices of smoked halibut.
Make a cream of cauliflower soup and serve with
Make a mousseline with potato purée and olive oil and serve with
cauliflower piccalilli and baked spekbokking (also known as bloater, a type of salted herring that is smoked whole).
Grate raw cauliflower and toss with couscous, capers, Taggia olives and
Cook cauliflower and broccoli al dente, mix with arugula (rocket), toss in an anchovy dressing, and serve with cheese crisps.
Some of the information, tips and pairing suggestions above come courtesy of Smaakvrienden ('Taste Friends'), Dutch masterchef Angelique Schmeink's guide to culinary inspiration that is filled with ideas, tips, pairings and recipes for some 80 vegetables. These ideas have been translated and republished here with the permission of the publisher.
Learn more about cauliflower.
Cauliflower Recipes from Around the World
Crispy Cauliflower Salad Recipe
Indian Cauliflower Curry Recipe
Creamy Cauliflower Spaghetti Alfredo with Crispy Parmesan Breadcrumbs
Dutch Cauliflower Crush Recipe
Cauliflower Cheese Recipe
Ukrainian Baked Cauliflower Recipe
French Cauliflower Gratin Recipe
Soufle Kounoupithiou (Greek Triple Cheese Baked Cauliflower Recipe)
Gobhi Methi (Indian Cauliflower with Fenugreek Recipe)
Sformato Di Cavolfiore (Italian Cauliflower Sformato Recipe)
Arnabeet bel Lamoun (Middle Eastern Cauliflower with Lemon and Olive Oil Recipe)
Moroccan Tagine of Lamb and Cauliflower
Blomkal med Currykryddad Räksas (Scandinavian Steamed Cauliflower with Curried Shrimp Sauce Recipe)
Thai Tofu Coconut Curry with Cauliflower
Broccoli Cauliflower Salad Recipe
Roasted Cauliflower Soup