In January of this year, The Washington Post published an article entitled, “Cauliflower is so hot right now you may not be able to afford it—or find it.” Arguing that cauliflower has usurped kale as the king of vegetables, the Post reported a price surge in this once-lowly crucifer, due to high demand and limited supply. A single head was selling for as much as $8.00 at some local groceries.
Growing to love roasted cauliflower in recent years, I seldom cooked it any other way. But when I read about the craze in our nation’s capital for such dishes as cauliflower steak and cauliflower ice cream, I decided to broaden my horizons.
First, I shopped around for price comparisons. I didn’t find any Charlottesville stores to rival D.C.’s $8 price tag, but I did see organic heads selling for as much as $6.99. In most cases, a small head averaged $4 to $5. I convinced myself that wasn’t too bad if it constituted the main entrée. I have now tried this popular member of the Brassica family mashed into patties, creamed in a soup, chopped in a soufflé, and layered atop pizza. All delicious!
The simple recipe I want to share with you this month is taken from the epicurious website. Baked slabs of cauliflower stretch across eight open-faced sandwiches, topped with cheese, nuts, and golden raisins. The combination is irresistible. Add some simple greens or a cup of soup, and you have a satisfying supper without much fuss.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Medium head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slabs, possibly halved to make a total of 8 slabs
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 8 1/2-inch-thick slices sourdough bread
- 4 ounces Comte or Manchego cheese, cut into 8 slices
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the cauliflower slabs and toss to coat.
- Arrange the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, flip the slabs, and bake another 10 to 20 minutes, until softened and roasty. Set aside to cool but keep the oven on.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the raisins in wine or water for 10 minutes. Drain.
- In a small pan over medium-high heat, toast the pistachios, dry or with a little oil. Let cool on a paper towel, then chop coarsely.
- Lay the bread on the baking sheet and arrange the cauliflower on the bread, cutting it to fit as needed. Sprinkle with pistachios and raisins and top with the cheese.
- Bake until the cheese melts, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Top the toasts with chopped parsley and serve immediately.