If I were to make a top 5 list of why I love to shop at the Larchmont Farmers Market, buying new and unusual produce would definitely be on there.
Take these gorgeous bunches of cauliflower that I mistook for bunches of flowers. Truth. I was shopping at the Country Fresh Herbs table and admired bunches of “flowers” on the table. Cathy laughed and explained that I was close, but this was actually edible, a variety of cauliflower known as fioretto or flowering cauliflower. She then waxed poetic about how sweet, delicate and delicious it was, especially the long stalks. Quite different than traditional cauliflower that can often have stems that are strong in taste and a bit woody in texture. I added two bunches to my order, as well as Italian parsley. I knew exactly how I was going to prepare these beauties.
Knowing that the flavor of the fioretto was sweet and delicate, I didn’t want to smother it in anything that would overpower the taste and texture. Plus, I wanted to keep the flower look of the fioretto when plating. It was too pretty to slather in sauce.
Roasting vegetables (or grilling when it’s warm outside) is pretty much a standard in my kitchen, unless I’m making a stir-fry, curry or some other saucy dish. Roasting keeps the integrity of the vegetable’s shape and texture, maintains nutrition, plus those charred bits are simply irresistible.
Here’s my standard roasting recipe that works with just about every vegetable. Use good extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt to roast. Once out of the oven and ready to plate and serve, I often add fresh herbs (I use a variety depending on the vegetable and what I’m serving alongside), an acid (either fresh citrus juice or balsamic vinegar), a bit more salt, and perhaps a few good cracks of black pepper. Easy and delicious.
Fioretto cauliflower is seasonal, so if you see it at the market, grab it while it’s available.
2 heads fioretto cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
1 lemon, zested
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Fresh cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry the fioretto. Cut into long individual stalks. Toss in EVOO and place on baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt. Roast about 20-30 minutes until the fioretto tops are browning and getting crisp. All ovens are different, so you will have to watch. Plate and top with a few more sprinkles of salt, the chopped parsley, lemon zest, and a few cracks of black pepper. Enjoy!