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Walnut Creek Magazine

What's In Season: Cauliflower

Jan 13, 2017 02:36PM ● By Cale Finta


Northern California’s winter growing season (December 22–March 19) is a well-deserved respite for many farmers, yet it holds just as much delicious produce. Cruciferous crops such as cauliflower, kohlrabi, broccoli, and collards, thrive in the cool, wet, Californian weather. Like its green cousins, cauliflower can be cooked, boiled, pickled, or eaten raw. Although white is the most recognizable of the bunch, cauliflower also comes in orange, green, and purple varieties.


By Lemonade Executive Chef Alan Jackson

Serves 4



1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup whole almonds, toasted

¼ cup golden raisins

½ cup Curry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)



Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F. Put the cauliflower on a large baking pan, drizzle with the oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until tender and slightly charred. Put the roasted cauliflower in a mixing bowl; add the almonds and raisins. Toss with the curry vinaigrette to evenly coat. May be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.



Makes 1 cup



1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil

1 Granny smith apple, halved lengthwise, cored, and coarsely chopped

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons turmeric

1 tablespoon curry powder



1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Juice of ½ lemon

1 tablespoon orange juice

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


To prepare the curry oil, put a small pot over medium-low heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the apple and onion. Cook and stir until soft and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and curry, and cook until the spices begin to darken slightly, about 1 minute, taking care not to allow them to burn. Pour in the remaining 1 cup of oil and stir everything together. Increase the heat to medium and bring the oil to a boil. Boil for 1 minute then remove the oil from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain the oil into a container to discard the pieces of apple and onion. Let the curry powder settle to the bottom of the container - try not to disturb the sediment in attempt to keep the oil clear.


To prepare the vinaigrette, in a mixing bowl combine the mustard, honey, vinegar, lemon, and orange juices. Gently blend with a whisk; season with salt and pepper. Pour in the oil all at once and lightly whisk until the ingredients just come together.


Pour the vinaigrette into a plastic container or jar and shake it up just before you are ready to dress the vegetables. Keep any leftover vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


By WCM Reader

Serves 4


2 tsps. salt, plus more to taste
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp. butter, plus more for the baking dish
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp. chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. flour
1 ½ C. milk
6 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
4 scallions, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. dried thyme
Breadcrumbs (optional)
Sprinkling of finely chopped fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and cauliflower, then boil for 4 minutes. Butter a baking dish large enough for cauliflower. Drain cauliflower and add to dish. Melt butter in a saucepan, add garlic, chili flakes, bay leaf and cook for about 1 minute. Add flour and stir quickly to create roux. Slowly add milk to pot, stirring to make creamy sauce. Continue cooking, until it comes to a boil, about 5 to 7 minutes. Once it bubbles, turn off heat and stir cheese into sauce. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add salt/pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf. Pour creamy, savory sauce over cauliflower, sprinkling top with breadcrumbs. Bake until brown and bubbly, about 40 minutes.



By Cuesa Farmers' Market

Serves 6



1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets
6 Tbsps. olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
12 oz. dry orecchiette pasta
¼ cup capers, rinsed and patted dry
2 tsps. freshly grated lemon zest
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano


Preheat an oven to 400 ˚F. Place cauliflower in 13” x 9” baking pan and toss with 3 Tbsps. of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast cauliflower until golden and tender, 30 to 40 minutes. 

In small frying pan, melt butter and cook until golden brown. Remove pan from heat and add garlic, cauliflower, and red pepper flakes. Toss together. Bring pot of water to a boil, add orecchiette, and cook until al dente, 12 to 14 minutes. Warm remaining 3 Tbsps. olive oil in small frying pan until oil ripples. Add capers and cook until crispy, about 1 minute. To serve, drain and toss pasta with cauliflower, capers, olive oil, and lemon zest. Season with salt. Garnish with the Parmigiano. Serve immediately.



By Diablo Valley Farmers’ Market


1 medium cauliflower (purple, orange, white or a mixture)

2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced into discs

2 Tbsps. butter

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups milk or plain soymilk

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper  

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Salt & Pepper to taste


Break cauliflower into small chunks & add to pot with broth. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Cook leeks until soft. Add leeks to pot with cauliflower broth & simmer about 12 minutes. Remove about 90% of vegetable mixture & puree. Stir back into pot with milk and heat. Stir in cheddar cheese and add cayenne pepper to taste.

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