Most of us hated it boiled when we were kids and dreaded how it stunk up the kitchen. But thanks to the ingenious minds of Los Angeles chefs and some of the best produce in the country, cauliflower has made a comeback.
Largely due to the low-carb trend, cauliflower is turning up on menus and in various renditions in the grocery store, including pizza crusts and cauliflower rice.
It’s a superfood, coming in at about 200 calories for an entire head. It takes on flavors well, is cheap and can be stored easily. So it’s basically a chef’s dream.
“Cauliflower was a vegetable that was always prepared with love and found on our dinner table on Sunday at Nana’s house,” Adam Sobel, chef and co-owner of Cal Mare in the Beverly Center, told L.A. Weekly. “It’s a very common ingredient in Sicilian cuisine and has tremendous versatility. It can be fried, pickled, roasted whole or made into a silky puree.
“It’s one of my favorite vegetables — trendy or not,” Sobel said.
Whether purple, orange, green or white, we’ve got six ways to celebrate National Cabbage Day on Sunday, Feb. 18 (yes, cauliflower is part of the cruciferous cabbage family), from sunrise to sunset:
Breakfast: A longtime standard and favorite at Sqirl in Silver Lake, the $14 gluten-free cauliflower hash is caramelized with Weiser Russian Banana Potatoes, shwarma and a fried egg. It’s served with a side salad and house-made spicy green salsa.
Sqirl, 270 Virgil Ave., #4, Silver Lake; (323) 284-8147, sqirlla.com.
Lunch: The main event of Spring’s CBD Power Lunch is a branzino with multicolored cauliflower, romanesco, capers, lemon confit, pickled grapes and crostini. Chef Tony Esnault adds a small amount of cannabidiol oil to each dish to help you power through the day. Chef Tony says this dish, part of the $37 prix fixe menu, supports digestion and joint health and boosts metabolism. Super CBD is also on the menu, 30 mL available for $75.
Spring, 257 S. Spring St., downtown; (213) 372-5189, springlosangeles.com.
Dinner out: Cal Mare elevates its dish with fresh tongues of sea urchin and finger limes to accompany the fried cauliflower, golden raisins, guanciale and Calabrian chilies. Even though it’s on the antipasti menu, it’s a satisfying and decadent surf-and-turf dinner option at $19.
Cal Mare, 131 La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; (424) 332-4595, hmichaelmina.net/restaurants/southern-california/calmare/
Dinner in: Skinny Bitch Pizza offers six gluten-free cauliflower crust pizzas: the Jessica (cheese), the Emily (cheese and turkey pepperoni), the Amanda (vegetarian), the Marissa (margherita), the Sarah (meat lovers), the Courtney (chicken pesto) and the Whitney (build your own). Delivery options are limited; check website for availability. Prices range from $19.99 to $26.99.
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On the side: One of Gracias Madre’s signature dishes is the vegan Coliflor Frito ($14). Flash fried, the spicy florets are served with cashew nacho cheese and lemon.
Gracias Madre, 8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 978-2170, graciasmadreweho.com.
On the side: It may be a side, but I can make a meal out of a bowl of Little Fatty’s General Tso’s cauliflower ($10) with some steamed rice. Sweet and spicy with a crunch from its rice-flour coating, it makes you think you're eating authentic orange chicken.
Little Fatty, 3809 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista; (310) 574-7610, littlefattyla.com.
Bring on the glucosinolates!