We're delighted to bring you the first of a new monthly feature: Eat the Seasons!
Seasonality of ingredients is super important to us, and we are therefore championing a different fruit or vegetable each month while it's at its best. That means all sorts of chat relating to whatever beautiful vegetable or fruit we've chosen that's bursting from nature right now, as well as one recipe specially written by CED, paired with our visual Instagram step by step guide.
Hopefully it will inspire; remember that your food will taste SO much better if it's cooked with local ingredients which are in season...and seasonal ingredients cost less too! (For our global followers, we are based between the UK and Italy so the feature is based on European seasons.)
We start in November with the noble Cauliflower! Cauliflower is a star ingredient and a massively underrated vegetable.
We often associate the winter with dull and uninspiring veg and sometimes people find it hard to think up of tasty and varied things to cook with them. But king cauli is super versatile, vibrant and marries beautifully with a number of different flavours.
What to look out for?
A good quality and fresh cauliflower will be extra sweet and tasty. To be sure of freshness, buy one that’s really firm and not starting to look a bit sad and limp. Also try to pick one that’s bright white and not starting to discolour and brown on the outside of the florets.
What does it go with?
Cheese is a real crowd pleaser, but there are also so many other options. Try it with anchovies - boil some chopped cauliflower well, then add to a pan with plenty of anchovies, garlic, parsley and olive oil and mix with pasta. Spices and curry flavours are a match made in heaven with cauliflower (think cumin or garam masala). As a member of the brassica family, it will also go great with salty pork flavours, as with our special recipe at the bottom.
Don't throw away those leaves! Roast 'em up in a hot oven with olive oil and salt for 20 mins or so until the leaves are browned and wilted, and the white rib of the leaf is tender. Delicious!
What does the nutritionist say?
Our featured nutritional specialist Emily Moreton tells us: Cauliflower is a great source of Vitamin C, just a quarter of a small sized cauliflower will give you 43 mg of Vitamin C, which is your entire daily requirement!
You could have a go at a fermented Piccalilli, if not for the potential health benefits for your gut microbes, then for the electrifying colour and tangy crunch. Cauliflower is a core ingredient in the yellow preserve piccalilli which uses vegetables of the garden with Indian spices and makes a great addition to a Christmas cheese board. Although the scientific literature is quite limited at the moment around fermented foods, anecdotally speaking this doesn’t mean to say that they don’t have any health benefits, we just need more evidence.
What are our favourite ways to prepare it?
Roast your cauliflower in a very hot oven and it will start to colour, char even. As it goes brown it will develop a delicious nutty flavour; try roasted cauliflower with a tahini sauce! Simply boiled and cooled it’s also great in a salad with a tangy dressing and herbs. It also makes a simple and luxurious soup, as with our delicious recipe below.
What did you say?
We asked on our Instagram what you love to do with the cauli. 'Roasted' was the answer we saw most. Of course, we got lots of cauliflower cheese shouts...I mean who doesn't love it doused in cheddary bechamel?! The curry combo was also very popular....two words: aloo gobi! We had some other really inspiring answers...poached in butter, deep fried, dipped in aioli, and au gratin!
Recipe Time: Our Cauliflower Recipe for Eat the Seasons.
This soup is a beauty. It won't take you all day and has relatively few ingredients. It's not excessively heavy but it feels super indulgent as it's silky, thick and bursting with luxurious flavour. The nuts and crispy pork add texture and contrast; feel free to leave out the pancetta if you are veggie. If you like truffle, you can also drizzle a little truffle oil over it at the end! If you want to bring a cauliflower '2 ways' kind of vibe to the soup, you can also roast a few florets in the oven and then serve on top of the soup with the other garnishes!
Click HERE for the visual recipe guide on our Instagram!
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Pancetta and Roasted Hazelnuts