There are few things more frustrating than not being able to get the right answer. I have no problem heavily researching any subject to extract just the information I need, comparing and contrasting from many sources to make sure both they and I know what all of us are talking about.
Such has not been the case with the culinary curio known as green cauliflower. Alternately called brocciflower and/or broccoflower and/or Romanesque, these varieties are hard to classify, even for plant taxonomists. No one seems to know exactly if they are hybrids of cauliflower and broccoli (which supposedly are incapable of crossbreeding unless science interferes) or heirlooms. I’ve read that brocciflower IS a cross between the two cruciferous vegetables, and that Broccoflower is actually just a brand name that should be capitalized, but is only real Broccoflower if it’s green all the way through. The only thing anyone seems to agree on is that the funky, perfect symmetry of the Romanesque’s design is a fine example of naturally occurring fractal architecture. Depending on which article you pull up, the Romanesque may also be known as a broccoli, rather than cauliflower.
Confused? Never fear. It gets worse. Reduced to the dicey proposition that Wikipedia might sort things out, I warily consulted that massive data dump for at least one kernel of truth. Instead, I was pulled into a quagmire of yet more contradictions and dead ends. Every entry, as expected, amounted to a big mess of a ragu. After all this head banging and hemorrhaging, I am done. A ragu works for me.
Ragu of Cauliflower – Adapted from Drago, Santa Monica, CAThis post is being submitted to Kalyn Denny of Kalyn's Kitchen, creator of the food blogging event, Weekend Herb Blogging.
4 baby cauliflower heads, any color
2 Tablespoons shallots, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
2 Tablespoons raisins
1 small cluster saffron threads, the size of a dime
1 cup wine (I used Marsala)
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon butter
Salt and Pepper
While bringing to boil a large pot of water, rinse the cauliflower heads, then cut the stems close to the base of each. Leave intact any small, tender leaves that hug the head.
Blanch the heads in boiling water for 3 minutes, then remove from water to cool. In a large skillet, cook the shallots in olive oil over medium heat until soft, golden and translucent. Add the wine, fennel seeds, raisins and saffron, continuing to cook on medium heat until wine reduces by half. Add water or stock, then gently place cauliflower heads in skillet. Turn heat down to low and cook until liquid is nearly all reduced. During this time, turn the cauliflower heads periodically to evenly cook and flavor in the sauce. The cauliflower will lose some, but not all, of their distinctive lime green color.
Remove cauliflower to plates and pour ragu over them. Finish with salt and pepper to taste. Serve while warm.
Serves 2. --