A couple of weeks ago, I got a big, beautiful head of cauliflower in my CSA panier.
The accompanying literature indicated that the cauliflower came from Brittany (Bretagne, en français) which was odd, considering the CSA is called Les Paniers du Val de Loire, and all the participating farms are located in the Loire Valley. I’m looking at it as a bit of serendipity, though. I know it’s been hard to tell, but April is Bretagne month here at Croque-Camille. While Brittany is best known for its crèpes, kouign amann, and shellfish, my preliminary research indicates that modern Breton cuisine focuses on fresh local produce and the bounty of the sea. So lucky me, a fresh, local ingredient landed right on my doorstep, and all I had to do was figure out what to cook with it!
Fortunately, Mark Bittman had a suggestion for me, referenced in a glowing post about Parisian market-purchased cauliflower (I wonder where his came from originally?) – cauliflower pasta. It sounded easy, fast, and hence perfect for my cooking-for-one needs while Nick was in the States.
Looks a little bland, though, doesn’t it? Kinda tasted that way, too, even with whole wheat spaghetti and a hefty pinch of red pepper flakes. I think I can sum up the problem in two words: boiled cauliflower. We all know that boiling is not the way to coax intense flavor out of anything, except maybe a reduction. The good news is that I only used half the cauliflower, so I still had the other half to play around with.