Cauliflower power: Skye Gyngell adds the cauli's creamy white curds to salads and purées

It may be Britain's most unfashionable vegetable, but the cauli's creamy white curds work so well in salads and purées, says Skye Gyngell

Creamy white clusters enfurled by the palest green leaves: cauliflower is both flavoursome and beautiful. From silky smooth soups to simple purées and salads, this humble, very English vegetable can be a wonderful addition to any table.

When buying cauliflower, look for firm, creamy plump curds – its tightly wrapped flowers – without any dark spots, along with fresh-looking leaves.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com

Salad of cauliflower, black olives, feta cheese and tomatoes

Serves 4

200g/7oz feta
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 head of cauliflower, broken into one-inch florets
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 bunch of mint, leaves only
50g/2oz black olives
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the feta into thin slices and sprinkle with the oregano. Now cook the cauliflower florets for four minutes in boiling water, then drain and place into a bowl. Allow to cool slightly then drizzle over the oil and vinegar and mix together well. Once the cauliflower is back to room temperature, add all the other ingredients to the bowl and toss lightly. Season to taste and arrange artfully on plates. Serve at once.

Seabass with cauliflower purée and marjoram butter

Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower
20g/3/4 oz unsalted butter
200ml/7fl oz double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 x 200g/7oz fillets of sea bass, skin left on
Olive oil for brushing
70g/3oz unsalted butter
1 small bunch of marjoram

Boil a generous-sized pan of well-salted water. Cut the cauliflower into regular-sized chunks and plunge into the water for 10 minutes or until it is soft and falling apart. Remove from the stove and drain in a colander. Place the cauliflower, butter and cream into the bowl of a food processor and purée until very smooth. Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside in a warm place.

Place a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Brush the sea bass with the olive oil and cook skin-side down for three to four minutes or until golden-brown and very crisp. Turn and cook for two minutes on the other side. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Put the butter and marjoram in the pan and cook over until the butter has melted completely and just coloured slightly. Remove from the stove, divide the purée equally between four plates, place the fish on top, and spoon over the warm butter. Serve at once, accompanied by a wedge of lemon.

Cauliflower with Dijon mustard and sourdough breadcrumbs

This is a quick, simple and delicious way to serve cauliflower, similar in many ways to cauliflower cheese, but lighter. Pair with roast chicken or any other white meat. Sourdough has a lovely flavour; make the breadcrumbs by pulsing broken-up slices in a food processor.

Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower
20g/1oz unsalted butter
200ml/7fl oz double cream
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
5 sprigs of thyme
25g/1oz freshly toasted breadcrumbs
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the cauliflower into generous-sized florets; try to keep the stem on, as it has a wonderful, slightly firmer texture. Boil a large pot of well-salted water, add the cauliflower and cook for three to four minutes – it should be just tender when pierced. Drain and set aside. While the cauliflower is cooking, put the butter, cream, mustard and thyme into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the cream is boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for two to three minutes. Season generously with pepper and add a pinch of salt. Put the cauliflower in a serving dish and pour over the cream. Sprinkle over the crumbs and Parmesan and serve.

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before