Typically, when we think of cauliflower we think of the neglected, boring white florets that somewhat resemble broccoli, but which don’t even enjoy that much-maligned cruciferous vegetable’s moderate fame. No more. Today’s cauliflower is done hiding in the shadows of its prettier sister and is letting its freak flag fly—whether on the side, in a sandwich or as a main attraction.
Cauliflower comes in all shapes and colors. In this kaleidoscopic, high-fashion side dish at Downtown’s Carson Kitchen, a mix of yellow, purple and green cauliflower is blanched, shocked in an ice bath to stop the cooking process, coated in olive oil and roasted until charred. Next, chopped garlic, chili flakes and fresh lemon juice are added before the dish is finished with chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper. Don’t hate it because it’s beautiful. $8, Carson Kitchen, 702-473-9523, CarsonKitchen.com.
Coconut Roasted Cauliflower
“This dish is a tasty, healthier way of enjoying what can be sometimes boring, plain cauliflower,” says Ricardo Romo, chef at Whist Stove & Spirits in the District at Green Valley Ranch. Tricolor cauliflower is tossed in extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted until slightly tender. It is then finished in reduced coconut milk and topped with toasted coconut shavings. Coconut and cauliflower are the new peas and carrots. $6, Whist Stove & Spirits, 701-307-2694, Facebook.com/WhistStove.
Roasted Cauliflower Sandwich
“We’ve all probably had cauliflower and cheese, just never in a sandwich,” says Josh Clark, chef and owner of Downtown’s The Goodwich. And that’s exactly what makes this grinder so unique. Cauliflower and bell peppers are roasted and then caramelized on the griddle, then topped with sweet onion fondue and puffed wild rice with curry powder for texture. The gooey, crunchy goodness is served on your choice of bread. Werk it, cauliflower! $5, The Goodwich, 702-910-8681, The-Goodwich.com.
This next high-fashion cauliflower creation will humiliate you in a vogue off. “Not a lot of restaurants offer just cauliflower as an appetizer,” says William DeMarco, chef at Crush in MGM. “But with people trying to eat healthier nowadays, vegetable items are starting to be ordered more and more, as they should be.” These multicolored florets are sautéed until golden brown, then reduced in red-wine vinegar before being mixed with garlic, chili flakes and mint, and finished with butter, salt and pepper. $10, Crush in MGM, 702-891-3222, CrushMGM.com.
This far-more-healthful stand-in for the traditional bucket of wings consists of steamed cauliflower that has been tossed in hot sauce and is served Buffalo-style with crunchy carrot and celery sticks and—natch—fat-free ranch salad dressing for dipping. “CauliFIRE offers our customers the ability to enjoy the buffalo flavor without having to forgo their vegetarian preference,” SkinnyFats’ chef Josh Green says. Not a bad way to stick to those New Year’s resolutions. $6, SkinnyFats, 702-979-9797, SkinnyFats.com.