Cooked in lightly boiling water, then tossed with vinegar, olive oil, and just a touch of cream, cauliflower shows off its delicate sweet side. Preparing it in this fashion allows the often times pungent vegetable to let go of its cooked cabbage personality. Even for noncauliflower eaters, this little dish of snow-white florets may come as a refreshing surprise. Serve it with the meal or as part of a before-dinner antipasto.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 small head cauliflower
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted boiling water to a boil over high heat. Trim core from cauliflower. Cut enough into 1- to 1½-inch florets to measure 6 cups.
2. Cook cauliflower at a medium boil until nicely tender but not falling apart, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well. Place in large bowl and while still warm, toss gently first with vinegar, then cream, using a rubber spatula. Toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
3. Serve warm or at room temperature sprinkled with basil.
Variation: Replace the basil with fresh or dried mint or oregano.
Trim the stems to ½ to 1 inch in length; the florets look most attractive that way.
Cooking the cauliflower in a large pot of water helps remove its stronger taste and aroma.