Although my mother served countless vegetables at her table, she never cooked cauliflower. She would coat eggplant or okra in cornmeal, then fry it until golden and crisp, or cook turnips greens or lady peas slowly with bits of bacon for extra flavor. Never, though, did she turn to this member of the cruciferous family for inspiration. I, on the other hand, continue to marvel at the inventive ways a cook can use this assertive vegetable. I’ve sautéed the florets with leeks and mushrooms as a topping for buttered pasta, incorporated them into creamy gratins sprinkled with cheese, and featured them often in soups.
The latter is by far my favorite way to use this extra healthy vegetable that belongs to a food group that includes broccoli, kale, collard greens, and cabbage. Among my creations there has been a curried cauliflower potage, another topped with Gruyère and crushed hazelnuts, and my recent spicy cauliflower soup with crispy chorizo, which you’ll find in this post. Continue reading
I returned home from Paris this week with some sound French cooking philosophy. Everyone cooks seasonally there, not only by choice, but often by necessity. Mounds of asparagus, green and white or plump and slim, appear in markets in mid-spring only to completely disappear later in the summer. Deep crimson and incredibly juicy strawberries pop up in June and are available for a few weeks. Even fish have their own cycle. Late last month when I innocently asked a Parisian fishmonger for scallops, he looked at me sternly and announced “C’est fini, Madame!”
However, in New England the latter are in their prime right now. At a local grocery store fresh sea scallops from Cape Cod caught my eye while I was restocking my larder, so I bought a pound along with “native” (translation: homegrown) tomatoes and a bunch of arugula. I added a package of Spanish-style chorizo to my cart and had the makings for a delicious main course salad for our first night home. Continue reading
This potato salad is a new and delicious twist on tradition. Small red skin potatoes, boiled in their skins, then quartered, and chopped hard-boiled eggs form the base, and are accented by bits of chorizo, a smoked Spanish sausage available in many supermarkets. It is the chorizo with its subtle smokiness that makes this potato salad so distinctive. These three ingredients are tossed together in a mustard and shallot vinaigrette, then sprinkled with snipped chives. Continue reading
Here’s a great side dish to use some of that ubiquitous corn which as the lyrics go is “as high as an elephant’s eye” at this time of year. Diced chorizo, the slightly spicy Spanish sausage, fresh corn kernels, and chopped leeks are sautéed, then combined with eggs, half and half, and sour cream. Grated Gruyère and fresh chopped parsley provide more flavor. When baked, the gratin boasts a golden crust that covers a creamy custard mosaically studded with bits of sausage, corn, and leeks. This dish would make a fine garnish to barbecued chicken, grilled steaks, or sautéed pork chops.