Cauliflower is a member of the mustard family alongside broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and radishes. The word “cauliflower” stems from Latin, meaning “flowers of cabbage” and this low-growing plant does look similar to cabbage until the large leaves begin to open up. This reveals the globe-shaped, cream-colored head that’s about six to eight inches in diameter. The head is made up of bumpy florets attached to the main stem.
The cauliflower head is harvested and the florets are removed to use in a variety of food dishes. Preparing fresh cauliflower is easy, but it does take a little extra time to separate all the florets from the head.
Raw cauliflower is often combined with creamy dips and is a popular addition to a raw vegetable platter. Cauliflower can be roasted, steamed, fried, mashed or made into a dough to replace traditional flour-based recipes. . Cauliflower pizza has become very popular as a low carb alternative.
Whether cooked or eaten raw, cauliflower is most commonly broken or cut into florets. Any outer leaves are removed, which can be cut up and added to a stir-fry or soup (just know that they have a sharp cauliflower flavor). The core is often removed and discarded, but it is just as edible and tasty as the florets. Feel free to chop it up and cook those pieces along with the florets, especially if you’re making any kind of soup. The entire head of cauliflower can also be simply roasted for a stunning presentation.
Keep cauliflower loosely wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. Fresh from the farmers market, heads normally will last up to 2 weeks. You can cut cauliflower into florets and store them, sealed, in a plastic bag in the fridge. They will last up to a week in a well-regulated refrigerator. For longer storage, the florets are best blanched and then frozen.
Is Broccoli Rabe the same thing as Broccoli?
Broccoli rabe is not broccoli! Some people think it is a part of the broccoli plant. It is not! While Chinese broccoli and broccolini are both in the same family as regular broccoli, broccoli rabe is something entirely different. Broccoli rabe is more closely related to a turnip. Broccoli rabe is also known as rapini.
Broccoli rabe has deliciously bitter stems, leaves, and nutty, broccoli-like buds that are all edible and commonly used in Italian cooking. Broccoli rabe is easy to cook. It’s great simply blanched and sautéed in olive oil, roasted until crisp, or even pureed into a piquant pesto.
Storing Broccoli Rabe
Broccoli rabe should be a deep, rich green all over, with tightly closed florets, firm stalks, and no yellow flowers or yellow spots. You can store broccoli rabe unwashed in the fridge, wrapped in plastic. We normally wrap a wet paper towel around the base for some moisture and put the plastic bag over the top of the rabe leaving the base exposed to the refrigerator. This provides enough moisture but not too much. Try to use it within a day or two, though it keeps for up to a week.
Broccoli Rabe with Cauliflower and Orange Recipe
This recipe was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. We’ve modified a little bit and added some plant-based alternatives for certain ingredients.
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or vegan butter alternative)
-1/2 medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into cauliflower florets.
-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
-1/4 cup orange juice (or juice an orange to avoid any added sugars)
-2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
-Coarse salt and ground pepper
-1 bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
1-Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot.
2-Add cauliflower and cook. Stir until it begins to brown.
3-Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
4-Add orange and honey (or maple syrup).
5-Season with salt and pepper and cook until liquid is reduced and syrupy (about 3-4 minutes).
6-Add broccoli rabe and cook and stir until crisp and tender.
7-Season to taste with salt and pepper.