How many of you grew up eating ( or not eating) that white vegetable that looked so bland and had a cabbagey taste? Me, too! Definitely, not one of my favorites. Until one day in the cafeteria at work I met Cauliflower au Gratin bathed in a cheesy sauce, with a crunchy crumb topping. AHHH! That’s more like it. I fell in love, and became determined to learn how to make it.
Did you know that cauliflower actually has aristocratic roots? It was first popularized in the Royal Court of France, when Countess Jeanne du Barry, mistress of King Louis, XV, became enamored with it. On restaurant menus any dish which features cauliflower may be called “du Barry” in her honor.
Like many nobles, cauliflower can be rather fussy. It gets easily “sunburned” while still growing in the garden, unless the farmer ties the leaves of each individual crown to cover and shield it from the sun, lest it become yellowed. Once harvested, however, it is less fussy. Easily prepared in a variety of ways, cauliflower can be dressed plain, or fancy to bring out its sophisticated flavor.
Not to be overlooked, is the nutrient value of cauliflower. It is loaded with a cancer-fighting chemical which can help destroy cancer cells. Add to that it is low in calories, high in fiber, and contains healthy amounts of vitamins C and K. All excellent reasons to learn to love cauliflower if you don’t already. Perhaps I can entice you with my recipe for Cauliflower Au Gratin, which follows in the next post.