Recipes from Cauliflower is King

CARAMELISED CAULIFLOWER AND SMOKED SALMON CROSTINI

Caramelised cauliflower and smoked salmon crostini

Caramelised … how? If you cook cauliflower for long enough in a little oil, its natural sugars will concentrate and become more pronounced, a.k.a. caramelise. Cauli cooked this way develops a sweet nuttiness that’s quite intense and is the perfect foil for salty smoked salmon. It also works with prosciutto, which you could try here instead. Just skip the crème fraîche in that case, and garnish with basil leaves.

Makes about 40 crostini

1 day-old baguette
Olive oil, for brushing
250 g (9 oz) smoked salmon
Crème fraîche and dill sprigs, to garnish

CARAMELISED CAULIFLOWER
800 g (1 lb 12 oz/about 1 small) cauliflower, trimmed
and cut into 1 cm (½ inch) pieces
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-egg mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the cauliflower in a baking dish in a single layer, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat well.

Bake for 40 minutes or until deep golden and very tender. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to a food processor with the mayonnaise. Process until the mixture is smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the baguette into 1 cm (½ inch) thick slices and place on a baking tray in a single layer. Brush lightly with olive oil, then bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool.
Spread the crostini thickly with the cauliflower mixture. Tear the salmon into small pieces and divide among the crostini. Spoon a little crème fraîche on to each, then top with a piece of dill. Serve immediately.

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CAULIFLOWER BLUE CHEESE SCONES

Cauliflower Blue Cheese Scones

These are really just a thinly veiled excuse to make scones, but you have to admit that cauliflower trim does make them look cute. Use any other cheese you like – a tasty cheddar would do just fine. So would feta, come to that.

Makes 10 scones

20 small–medium cauliflower florets
370 g (13 oz/2½ cups) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
50 g (1¾ oz/scant ¼ cup) unsalted butter, chopped
200 g (7 oz) gorgonzola cheese, chopped
2½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
300 ml (10½ fl oz) buttermilk, approximately

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Steam the cauliflower over boiling water for 2–3 minutes or until the cauliflower is semi-cooked.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then rub in half the gorgonzola. Stir in the chives, add the buttermilk and then, working quickly, stir with a flat-bladed knife to form a coarse, sticky dough. Add a little extra buttermilk if the mixture is too dry.

Turn out onto a floured board and, using your hands, lightly knead until the dough just comes together – take care not to overwork or the scones will be tough. Using your hands, pat out to a rough 20 x 15 cm (8 x 6 inch) rectangle, using a large knife to push the edges square. Cut out rounds with a 6.5 cm (2½ inch) cutter. Press together any scraps, re-roll and cut out more rounds – you should have 10. Press the remaining cheese gently into the scone tops. Press the cauliflower florets into the tops, stems down, then transfer to the baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes or until risen, golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Scones are best served on the day they are made.

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THAI YELLOW CAULIFLOWER, SNAKE BEAN AND TOFU CURRY

Thai yellow cauliflower curry

It’s been said before but it’s a drum worth beating: home-made curry paste tastes way better than anything you’ll ever buy. You just can’t get those same snappy flavours unless you grind the ingredients fresh, and it’s really easy too. Truthfully, the food processor does all the work for you. Plus, you can make double the recipe and freeze the extra for another time. It will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for 5–6 weeks.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
400 g (14 oz/about ½ small) cauliflower, trimmed and cut into medium–large florets
375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) chicken stock
200 g (7 oz) snake (yard-long) beans, trimmed and cut into 3 cm (1¼ inch) pieces
140 g (5 oz/1 cup) frozen or fresh podded peas
400 g (14 oz) fried tofu puffs, sliced
1 x 400 ml (14 fl oz) tin coconut cream
Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
70 g (2½ oz/½ cup) unsalted roasted peanuts
Large handful of Thai basil leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves, stems removed, finely shredded
Lime wedges, to serve

YELLOW CURRY PASTE
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 lemongrass stems, white part only, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
3 Asian shallots, chopped
5 large kaffir lime leaves, stems removed, chopped
4 small red chillies, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil

For the yellow curry paste, mix all the ingredients in a small food processor to a smooth paste. Alternatively, pound everything, except the fish sauce and oil, with a mortar and pestle. then stir in the fish sauce and oil.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the cauliflower, stir to coat, then add the stock; the cauliflower won’t quite be covered. Place the beans and peas on top and add the tofu, but do not stir. Bring the stock to a simmer, cover the pan tightly, then cook over medium heat for 12–15 minutes until the vegetables are just tender; they should still have a little bite.

Add the coconut cream, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes or until heated through, then divide into bowls with steamed rice. Scatter with peanuts, basil and the shredded lime leaves. Serve with lime wedges.

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CAULIFLOWER, LIME AND COCONUT CHEESECAKE

Cauliflower Lime and Coconut Cheescake

Cauliflower brings its earthy sweetness to, yes, cheesecake. Really? You’ll never even know it’s there! Gild the lily by slathering the top with lashings of whipped cream, some toasted coconut and a sprinkling of finely grated lime zest just before you serve.

Serves 8

200 g (7 oz) cauliflower florets
250 g (9 oz/generous 1 cup) cream cheese, chopped
300 g (10½ oz/11⁄3 cups) firm, fresh ricotta cheese
150 g (5½ oz/2⁄3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
4 tablespoons lime juice
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
3 eggs, beaten well
45 g (1½ oz/½ cup) desiccated (grated dried) coconut
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon coconut essence, or to taste

CHEESECAKE BASE
175 g (6 oz) plain sweet biscuits, such as
shortbread, broken
80 ml (2½ fl oz/1⁄3 cup) melted coconut oil
50 g (1¾ oz/½ cup) desiccated (grated dried) coconut

For the cheesecake base, place the biscuits in a food processor and mix to fine crumbs. With the motor running, add the oil and coconut and process until combined well. Press into the base of a 20 cm (8 inch) springform tin.

Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F).

Steam the cauliflower over boiling water for 4 minutes or until tender, then cool in a colander. Process until very smooth, then add the cream cheese to the processor and mix until smooth, stopping to scrape the cream cheese down occasionally. Add the ricotta, sugar, lime juice and zest and process until smooth, then add the eggs, coconut, flour and essence and process until smooth.

Pour into the tin and bake for 50–60 minutes or until firm in the middle. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly, then leave until the cheesecake is completely cold.

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