Cauliflower isn't exactly some obscure vegetable you've never heard of, though it does somehow leave folks wondering what to do with its’ humble looking cruciferous form. Ranging in flavour from bland to hinting of mustard while raw, cauliflower morphs once cooked into a delectable dish.
The heads- which are actually a cluster of immature flowers called a 'curd'- are usually the only part consumed, but the stalks and leaves are also edible and tasty. Cauli is kin to kale, cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts, all of which are part of the health star Brassica family, with their nutrient density and potential disease-fighting properties.
It is also notoriously difficult to grow, so if you see local organic cauliflower I'd say purchase extra, to support your farmers and to enjoy in one of the many great recipes available.
Cauliflower excites me. Yes, this shrinking violet suddenly transforms into the life of the party when cooked, all caramelized and golden. Plus there are SO many ways to use it.
If there's something I find more enticing than a vegetable though, it's a vegetable in a taco. Tacos form a cornerstone of the cultural and gastronomic diversity of Mexico. Those warm corn or flour tortillas wrapped around myriad fillings and invariably accompanied by numerous salsas and pickled vegetables, eaten by hand at every corner street stand and fine dining restaurant across the country; they taste like home to me. Whenever I'm feeling homesick, or I'm at a loss for what to make, tacos are the warm hug for taste buds and soul. Here, cauliflower is glazed in umami miso and tossed in beside local toothsome walnuts for a delicious ‘meaty’ filling.
Miso Cauliflower & Walnut Taco Filling
1 head of Cauliflower, along with the leaves and tender stalk
1 cup Walnuts
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 tablespoon Miso (I love Urban Hippie brand from Nelson)
1 tablespoon Tamari, or Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Cayenne (optional, depending on your heat tolerance)
1 small Onion
2 cloves Garlic
The How To:
Preheat the oven to 230°.
Chop cauliflower head into small florets, and the marrow of the stalk into smaller pieces. Dice onion and mince garlic. In a bowl, mix olive oil, miso, tamari and spices. Toss cauli florets, stem and leaves, onion, and garlic through the oil and spice mix. Using a spatula, empty the whole bowl onto a baking tray in a single layer, and roast for around 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve stuffed in warmed corn or flour tortillas (if you haven't tasted a corn tortilla I'm telling you- do it), with whatever salsa, pickled onion/radish/jalapeño, avocado, coriander, or simple slaw that inspires you.
Humble hand food for hungry mouths.
-I used blue corn masa to make my tortillas today. Masa can be purchased from Piko Wholefoods if you’d like to try your hand at making mouthwatering real corn tortillas. They’re naturally gluten free, too. Otherwise packaged corn or flour tortillas are great convenient options; just be sure to heat them as they’ll taste 10x better.
Created by Elena Keir of Naked Cakes & Wholefoods