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Simply Delicious: Taking cauliflower from out of its comfort zone

File photo of cauliflower. Thien Do / Getty Images

Put away that cheese sauce! This week, we’re taking cauliflower away from its comfort zone and giving the humble vegetable the twist it deserves. Who better to show you how, than Susan Hay and Rose Reisman. They take cauliflower from fork to table in this week’s Simply Delicious.

Here’s the recipe they tried:

Roasted Cauliflower with caramelized onions

1 head garlic, skin on

2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil

about 6 cups (1.5 L) chopped cauliflower florets (1½ lb/750 g)

2 cups (500 mL) sliced sweet onions

2 tsp (10 mL) packed brown sugar

1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar

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½ tsp (2.5 mL) cinnamon

¼ cup (60 mL) vegetable or chicken stock

1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt

⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) ground black pepper

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 425°F (220°C). Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and spray with vegetable oil. Bake for 25 minutes just until the cauliflower is tender and browned. Cool the garlic then squeeze out. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet sprayed with vegetable spray, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook the onions for 5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, vinegar and cinnamon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.

3. Place the cauliflower in a food processor with the stock, olive oil, salt and pepper. Purée until smooth. Stir in the onions and garlic until combined. Garnish with parsley.

Cauliflower may be a little pale in colour, but it’s full of nutrients. It’s one of the cruciferous vegetables and it’s loaded with health benefits. It contains antioxidants including Vitamin C and manganese which reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers. It also contains vitamin K and omgega 3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation reducing the side effects of arthritis.

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For Cauliflower grown close to home, we went Northeast of Toronto, to Markham. We found a great family farm called Top Tomato Foods- but don’t let the name fool you. Dominic DeFilippis tells us, “basically we grow anything you can top with tomatoes.” Top Tomato’s history spans back to 50 years, and the focus has been on three main crops- cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

DeFilippis took us to his cauliflower field, and showed us plants that were tied with red bands approximately 4 days before. They irrigated that morning, and the cauliflower was ready to cut. They have to re-crop throughout the season. DeFilippis says “it’s really a continuous crop.. so that we have fresh product, and fresh field available.” When it comes to Ontario produce, this farmer says “I believe it’s the best product in the world.”

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