“Until I started thinking about it, I didn’t realize how much cauliflower I’m using on our menus, but it’s so versatile that I really do use it a lot,” says Mike Rakun, Executive Chef and Partner at two Minneapolis restaurants: Mill Valley Kitchen and Marin, which feature what Rakun calls “a Midwestern take on Northern California cuisine.” Rakun’s fondness for cauliflower is evident in his menuing of appetizers, soups, sides and entrées.
“We use it all over the place,” Rakun says. One of his favorite approaches is making hummus with a one-third ratio of cauliflower. “We roast it with a charmoula spice blend, then puree it. It really lightens up the hummus.”
Especially on autumn menus, cauliflower often takes a star turn in soups and sauces. “It’s great with Indian and Moroccan flavors, and our tandoori cauliflower is a great salad ingredient. As a sauce, it gives a velvety texture but still stays light.” For vegetarian entrees, Rakun uses the roasted vegetable, along with three grains and fresh peas and carrots. “We keep the theme going by using cured cauliflower as the garnish,” he says. And when he’s looking for a no-grain option for rice, he pulses the raw veggie in the food processor, marinates it, and serves it as Cauliflower Couscous, a light side dish for a tuna entrée.
“It’s one vegetable that people always seem to be receptive to ordering,” Rakun says. He notes that it’s a lower-cost ingredient that generates relatively little waste. “We typically get about 80 percent yield on a whole head.”
Try Cauliflower Au Gratin baked with Marzetti® Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing for a tender and delicious entrée, or bake up Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Crunchy Topping featuring Marzetti® Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing and Marzetti® Regular Cut Garlic & Butter Croutons. Or try it in raw clusters on a crudité plate with Marzetti® Ranch Veggie Dip.
Serious Eats asks: “Hey chef, what can I do with cauliflower?”