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October, 2011

Greek-Style Roasted Garlic Cauliflower with Feta Cheese Crust

By Heidi Allison

Cauliflower is a tough sell. Raw, it has a firm yet spongy texture with a mildly sulfurous, bitter taste.

Cauliflower is a tough sell. Raw, it has a firm yet spongy texture with a mildly sulfurous, bitter taste. Not appealing—especially to kids. Others shy away from eating it because they have to cook it (and, this veggie needs to be cooked)—it releases an aroma reminiscent of old eggs, which gets more intense the longer this cruciferous veggie cooks. Unfortunately, the same phytonutrients responsible for its health benefits also release sulfur compounds when it’s heated.

Cauliflower
After preparing cauliflower with this innovative, two-step approach, it will be your new go-to side for busy weeknights and buffets alike. This easy, Greek-inspired recipe overcomes cauliflowers tough texture and odor issues by first steaming it in white wine and lots of fresh garlic until its takes on a velvety texture; then roasting it in a hot oven topped with a seasoned breadcrumb and two-cheese crust, creating one great-tasting side that will be loved by both kids and adults alike. And, you can get this one-dish wonder (minimal clean –up) to the table in thirty minutes!

But this dish brings more to the table that just great taste: This nutritional powerhouse contains an impressive number of antioxidants and phytonutrients recently linked to providing protection from inflammation –related health problems, such as heart disease, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type-2 diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and cancer. Cauliflower contains a hefty dose of vitamin C along with beta carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, cafferic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin, and kaempferol, which all work in consort to reduce damage on a cellular level from oxidative stress. Cauliflower is also an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of alpha-linoleic acid, ALA), two powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients that protect your cardiovascular system. Glucoraphanin, another potent anti-inflammatory nutrient, is proving to be helpful in preventing, and possibly reversing, blood vessel damage.

Greek-Style Roasted Garlic Cauliflower with Feta Cheese Crust
Serves 4-6
Greek-Style Roasted Garlic Cauliflower with Feta Cheese Crust

Ingredients:
1 head Cauliflower
¼ cup Pinot Grigio
¼ cup Chicken Stock
1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped Oregano
1 tablespoon Greek Olive Oil
Kosher Flake Salt and Black Pepper to taste
7 cloves Garlic, chopped
¼ cup crumbled Feta Cheese
¼ cup finely crumbled Cotilla Cheese (can substitute with a good Parmigian Oreggiano Cheese)
¼ cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 Tablespoon chopped, flat–leaf Parsley

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse cauliflower and remove outer leaves. Slice the cauliflower at the base where the florets meet the stalks. Trim down thick stems and remove any brown discolorations; then break apart into florets. Set the cauliflower, stem side down, into a 13 by 9-inch glass baking pan. Pour wine and chicken broth over cauliflower. Sprinkle with oregano and garlic and cover with foil. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender. Place breadcrumbs, cotilla cheese and parsley into a bowl and toss to combine. When cauliflower is tender, remove foil and sprinkle with feta cheese; then top with breadcrumb mixture. Place back in the oven until topping is golden brown, about 12- 15 minutes. Notes from the Author: Great served at room temperature. Superb buffet and party fare.