Cauliflower is now available in abundance at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. You might want to pick up one of the novelty purple or orange (cheddar) colored cauliflower heads which actually taste the same as the white variety. While you’re at the market pick up some locally grown leeks and garlic to prepare the Simply Baked Whole Cauliflower.
Cauliflower is an extremely healthy vegetable. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidant phytonutrients that studies show reduce the risk of cancer. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, so steaming and baking will retain the vitamin more than boiling. Many people also enjoy eating cauliflower raw which is best, if you want the greatest nutritional value.
Typically when you eat or cook cauliflower the flowerets have been cut off the central core. However, by cooking the cauliflower whole it makes an impressive presentation on the dinner table. The recipe below involves a combination of pre-cooking the cauliflower by steaming and then baking it. The pre-cooking can be done ahead of time, so the cauliflower is ready to bake for 15 minutes in the oven just before serving. This recipe is best served hot directly from the oven.
Simply Baked Whole Cauliflower
1 large head cauliflower*
¼ cup chopped leeks*
2 cloves minced garlic*
¼ cup butter
¾ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove outer leaves from cauliflower, place in a steamer basket and steam for about 20 minutes. In a small skillet, melt the butter, add leeks and garlic, cook gently for about 3 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly.
Place the steamed cauliflower in a baking dish with flowerets facing up. Pat the breadcrumb mixture evenly all over the cauliflower. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition per serving: 150 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 360 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein, 90% Daily Value vitamin C.
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. For information about food and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995or email@example.com.