Oh, how I love cauliflower. When cooked just the right amount of time, it’s earthy flavor and creamy texture are incomparable. Cauliflower can also be quite a pretty plant. If you look in the right places, such as farmer’s markets or Whole Foods, you can find beautiful purple, orange, or green cauliflowers, as well as those with spiky tips from Italy. So, if your child doesn’t “think” they like cauliflower, try choosing a nontraditional type that is a fun color or shape. The novelty will probably perk your child’s interest and get them to at least taste it.
Once your child is paying attention, cut off a floret and give them a taste of it raw. Grab your child’s favorite dip if it helps. Cauliflower has a sweet flavor before it’s cooked and the firm texture is crunchy, which kids love.
There is a problem with cauliflower, however: it gets stinky if you over cook it. Like cabbage and Brussels sprouts, which are also part of the same cruciferous family, it can get a sulpherous smell if you cook it too long, which is pretty unappetizing and is a surefire way to get your kids to hate it. This is definitely a vegetable that should be cooked al dente.
There is a simple remedy for this: Roast your cauliflower! I know that the idea of roasting this vegetable may seem odd, but the results are worth the effort. Also, if you’re already roasting a chicken or something else, you can use your preheated oven while your meat is resting as this dish only takes about five minutes to make. Better yet, when you roast your cauliflower, you just stick it in the oven — no stirring or hovering over the stove.
Here’s my recipe for roasted cauliflower. With butter, olive oil, and Parmesan, it’s a hit with both the kids and the grown ups.
1 head of cauliflower cut up into smallish florets
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Chop up cauliflower and place in a baking dish or cast iron pan.
- Add the water.
- Thoroughly mix in olive oil and a dash of salt.
- Sprinkle on the parsley and breadcrumbs.
- Top with the Parmesan cheese.
- Cut butter up into small pieces and place on top of the cauliflower.
- Roast for 10 – 20 minutes.
- Take pan out of oven and taste a small floret. If it is al dente, serve immediately.
Note: I originally said to roast for five minutes. This is still true under the following circumstances: you are using a convection oven, your oven is good and hot, and your florets are cut into thinish pieces. If you are using larger florets and/or don’t have a convection oven, you’ll need to cook the cauliflower for 10-20 minutes.