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What To Do with Cauliflower

Inspiration & Ideas for Using Cauliflower

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What To Do with Cauliflower

Cauliflower (Bloemkool)

Photo © Ellen Schelkers
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 nutritious brassica 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 'soldiers').
  • 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 morels and poached oysters.
  • 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 tomato salsa.
  • 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
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