1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed into small florets
1 tbs butter
1 tbs flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
dash of paprika
1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
1/8 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 180c. Place the florets in a large pan and just barely cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook until two-thirds done. Strain, saving the liquid.
Heat the butter in a saucepan. When bubbling, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the cauliflower liquid and stir until slightly thickened. Season with salt, pepper, parmesan and paprika. Pour over the cauliflower in a casserole.
Bake in oven 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and almonds.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT CAULIFLOWER
Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd) is eaten. The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds. Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, though they are of different cultivar groups.
The oldest record of cauliflower dates back to the 6th century B.C. In the 2nd century, Pliny included what he called cyma among his descriptions of cultivated plants in Natural History: “Ex omnibus brassicae generibus suavissima est coma,”
Of all the varieties of cabbage the most pleasant-tasted is cyma”). Pliny’s descriptions likely refer to the flowering heads of an earlier cultivated variety of Brassica oleracea, but comes close to describing modern cauliflower.
In the 12th century, three varieties were described in Spain as introductions from Syria, where it had doubtless been grown for more than a thousand years. It is found in the writings of the Arab botanists Ibn al-‘Awwam and Ibn al-Baitar, in the 12th and 13th centuries when its origins were said to be Cyprus.
François Pierre La Varenne employed chouxfleurs in Le cuisinier françois. They were introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century, and are featured in Olivier de Serres’ Théâtre de l’agriculture (1600), as cauli-fiori “as the Italians call it, which are still rather rare in France; they hold an honorable place in the garden because of their delicacy”, but they did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV. It was introduced in India in 1822 from England by the British.
LINKS TO OTHER GREAT CAULIFLOWER RECIPES.