“Chou-fleur, c’est le plus timide.”
Cauliflower is the wallflower. Cauliflower is the vegetable most people don’t even think of or notice. It isn’t fancy. It certainly isn’t “cool.” But Cauliflower melds with 1,000 tastes and has nutritional benefits out the wazoo.
In French the word is Chou-fleur. The large edible flower.
To our ears, and to our sensibility, that is a lot better name for it.
Let’s start with the nutritional benefits of Cauliflower.
Cauliflower is a powerhouse. It is packed with anti-inflammatories like the Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin K so it is great to prevent or lessen arthritis. It aids in digestion and weight loss with its 38 grams of dietary fiber but low calories and low carbs. Its relatively high glucosamin levels protect the stomach from bacteria. Cauliflower is chocked full of antioxidants that fight formation of cancer. Its high beta-carotene levels and phyto-nutrients fight cancer and cardio-vascular disease. It is high in all of the B vitamins, particularly B9 so it aids pregnancy greatly. And the relatively high levels of phosphorus, calcium, and selenium in Cauliflower are great for your bones and immune system, as well as DNA repair.
And, if those benefits were not enough, the relatively high levels of thiocyanates, glucosinates, and beneficial enzymes in Cauliflower stimulate and strengthen the liver so that it stimulates detoxification — which helps prevent most known cancers.
Plus, Cauliflower just simply tastes great.
There are SO many ways to prepare and serve Cauliflower. But let’s start with one of the most basic ways. Cauliflower Rice. It’s not only a replacement for grain rice, but many people find it even more rich, nuanced, and delicious than plain “rice.”
And any time you can serve rice, you can serve Cauliflower Rice in its place and immediately increase the nutritional value, lower the carbs (and residual sugars), and still have high fiber.
Riced Cauliflower is the single most versatile dish in a Keto diet.
Plain and Simple. And both nutritious and delicious!
- Food Processor, with fine to medium-fine grater blade
- Medium mixing bowl
- Large wooden spoon
- Large Heavy Skillet, preferably iron or enameled cast iron
- Begin heating your skillet on low to medium-low heat on the stove top.
- Wash the Cauliflower. Separate it from the main stalk and cut it into chunks that will fit through your Food Processor opening tube.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into your skillet, move around in the pan to coat the bottom as fully as you can. Then put it back on the burner and turn the heat up to medium.
- Process the chunks of Cauliflower in your Food Processor with a fine to medium-fine grater blade until you have grated the whole head of Cauliflower.
- Empty the grated Cauliflower into mixing bowl. Drizzle small amount of olive oil over it. Add salt and pepper, then toss to cover it.
- Lay the coated and seasoned Cauliflower into warmed skillet and turn up the heat slightly.
- Let it sit before turning. Don't turn too quickly. You are trying to get a good carmelization so surface-to-surface time with the heat is important.
- Stir the Cauliflower. And repeat several times being sure you don't stir too quickly or too much to prevent goldening of the edges.
- Don't go by the clock. Go by the color. You want the Cauliflower to golden slightly. That shows carmelization. And the taste is in the carmelization.
- Remove and serve warm in the same manner you would serve rice.
OUR PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
We find this recipe for Riced Cauliflower the perfect companion dish to our Chicken Vinha D’Alhous.
And one of our favorite wine pairings with that meal is this 2018 Caiu a Noite Vinho Verde White. You can usually pick up a bottle for $8-$9.
TO PREPARE IT THE WAY WE DO
This 12-inch Chef’s Skillet from Staub (shown here in Grenadine) is our absolute favorite to prepare Cauliflower Rice. The incomparable magic of cast iron allows heat to be spread evenly across the entire pan. And because the exterior surface is completed enameled, you can use this plan on ceramic or glass smooth-top, induction, halogen, electric coil, or gas burners. It’s sturdy enough to even use on your BBQ pit or in your outdoor smoker. It’s both beautiful and it holds heat, so you can use it as a serving piece on your table as well. We usually chose Staub over Le Creuset for any piece we will use for seering because we prefer the way the dark matte interior of Staub browns. Amazon carries this skillet, which they label as a “Fry Pan,” in Dark Blue, Graphite Gray, Burnt Orange, Basil, Cherry, Matte Black, as well as the Grenadine shown here. Prices typically run from the low to mid-$200s to the high-$300s. You will find a huge variation in price that is mostly color-dependent. Be apprised that prices change daily. And at the time of this post, this is the best price I’ve seen on this skillet in a couple of years.
The Le Creuset version of this skillet, far more widely marketed in the U.S., is equally perfect for this dish. It’s marketed on Amazon as Le Creuset Enameled Cast Signature Iron Handle Skillet. It’s shown here in the classic blue color Le Creuset calls Marseilles, but it comes in pretty much the whole array of colors at one price point or another. The colors Amazon carries are Marine, Oyster, White, Caribbean, Flame (the original Le Creuset color), as well as the Marseilles shown here. Today prices on Le Creuset are typically comparable to Staub, although that is a recent development. Until the last year or two, Le Creuset was always just a bit higher than the same piece in the Staub line, sometimes a lot higher. I’m not sure if this is intentional adjustment on the part of one or both companies or a natural demand-driven price equalization due to the fact that Staub has become more widely marketed and more widely known in the U.S. market. If you are familiar with the trademark smooth-white interior of Le Creuset, you will see this Le Creuset skillet has adopted the dark matte interior made famous by Staub for this piece. The interior really does make that much of a difference in frying, and seering. It’s enough of a difference that Le Creuset has gone to the dark matte surface on at least some of its pieces. That’s a huge nod to Staub in our opinion.
While there are enameled cast iron pieces we prefer in Le Crueset over Staub, such as our beloved Provence Soup Pot, for dishes that need caramelization or seering, Staub has long been our pick.
Be sure to use at least this size of skillet to prepare Cauliflower Rice. Of course, you can always go up in size. Just don’t go down. You need the surface for even caramelization of the rice. A smaller skillet simply will not achieve the desire results.
EITHER OF THESE PIECES YOU WILL LOVE.