Cauliflower is very nutritious, and may be eaten cooked, raw or pickled. Its name is a variation of cole flower or kale flower (cole and kale being variations of the same word), an acknowledgment of its unusual place among a family of food plants which normally produces only leafy greens for eating.
A full, bright white head of cauliflower has a host of uses.
It can be enjoyed raw, broken into florets and dipped into a bowl of hummus or pickled for antipasto. It can be boiled, steamed, sauteed and pureed.
Look for cauliflower with the whitest “curds” and no browning. Store in the crisper section of the fridge, unwashed in airtight plastic bags for 3-4 days.
Cauliflower, which is part of the cabbage family, goes well with butter, cheese, nuts, fresh and cured pork, chillies and anchovies and spices such as turmeric and sumac.
Cauliflower should be cooked quartered, or cut into florets at the base of the stem. Aim for brief cooking, so it retains a little crunch, especially in subtle dishes. For robust Indian curries or braises, a soft texture is better or make into cauliflower fritters (see related recipe) for a finger-food spread.