Monday, April 23, 2007

The Prince of Cauliflower

Remember that purple cauliflower I saw last weekend? I became so obsessed about it that I spent the better part of last week looking for it again. I had read online that purple cauliflower is natural and wild, and not a hybrid, which made me think it has a short season. I kept thinking I may not see it at the stores for very much longer. Thus, the obsession began.

Of course, I tried to see if I could get it at some of my specialty stores closer to where I live in Oakland. But after not finding it at the Piedmont grocer, I ended up taking the bus ride to the Whole Foods Market in Berkeley where I first saw it. (FYI: I later spotted a few purple cauliflower at my farmers market in Temescal.)

At Whole Foods, there were just a few left (I guess other people were intrigued by the color or became just as obsessed as I) and I grabbed one. It didn’t seem as fresh, almost like they were the same ones I saw from the previous weekend. But no matter. Cauliflower is a hearty bunch.

I’ve come to learn that purple cauliflower is really healthy for you—filled with lots of antioxidants, which explains the deep purple color. As you know, it’s healthy for you to eat deep-colored vegetables. And the more colors the better (don’t just stick with dark green). But I also learned that purple cauliflower, while more tender than the regular white ones, has less flavor. And the color fades as it’s cooked.

So what to do? That’s when I came up with the recipe below for my curry chicken salad with purple cauliflower. I figured the curry will give a nice zing for flavor, so you’re basically relying on the purple cauliflower for texture and eye candy. (I do a quick blanching of the cauliflower to retain the color. I later also discovered that sauteeing the cauliflower with a bit of broth creates a deep purple-blue color.)

Next time you see purple cauliflower at the store, pick it up and try this recipe. Or beware of the sleepless nights of obsession.

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