Last weekend, I was in Elora and picked up a HUGE cauliflower at the outdoor market there. The cauliflower was stunningly beautiful and we easily had enough cauliflower for two cauliflower hogs to have with three separate dinners.
For the first dinner, we made cauliflower au gratin to have with a flash-fried pork chop and steamed potatoes scattered with parsley. A couple of nights later, we had the cauliflower simply steamed and sprinkled with finely grated cheddar cheese – with a barbecued pork chop and oven-fried potatoes. I also grated the tiniest amount of nutmeg over the cheese that had melted beautifully on the hot cauliflower. Wow! Delicious!
Last night, there was STILL a good shot of cauliflower left over in the crisper drawer of the fridge. “Taste of the Danforth” is going on this weekend so we decided to give our dinner a Greek flavour to celebrate the festival on this side of the city too. I googled to see if there were any Greek ways to prepare cauliflower.
Why, yes there are!! I was really intrigued by κουνουπιδι Στιφαδο (Kounoupithi Stifado). I confess that I didn’t exactly follow the recipe(s) I found but whatever I did was fabulous. Here’s what I did:
based on Cauliflower Stifado – (Kounoupithi Stifado)
- good shot olive oil
- 1 small onion, sliced thinly
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- splash cider vinegar
- pepper and seasalt, to taste
- cauliflower for two
- handful of green beans, optional
- Heat a stainless steel frying pan to medium. Add olive oil, then onions and cook until soft and just beginning to colour.
- Add garlic and rosemary leaves and cook for half a minute more.
- Stir in splash of vinegar, tomato paste, pepper and seasalt and cook for a minute or so. Turn heat off and set the pan aside until it’s time to cook the cauliflower.
- Cut the cauliflower into flowerets. Trim ends from green beans, if using. Cook till al dentein a small amount of salted boiling water or by steaming.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, warm up the onion mixture.
- When the vegetables are done to your liking, drain and immediately put them into the frying pan. Toss well to cover with oniony garlicky oil.
:: The recipe called for bay leaf. But I forgot to put it in….
:: None of the Cauliflower Stifado recipes I saw called for green beans. The only reason they were included was because I found a handful of green beans lurking under the cauliflower in the fridge. They were shrieking to be used so I threw them in too. Next time, I think I’ll insist on including them. They added a lovely flavour and made the vegetables look very pretty as well.
:: I gather that “Stifado” means stew and that the dish will usually include a lot of onions, probably/possibly some tomatoes, vinegar/wine and herbs.
To go with this, we had decided to butterfly a chicken, slather the skin with olive oil, oregano and sumac and charcoal-grill it. Of course, I have no idea if this is even remotely Greek but who cares? It tasted great garnished with fresh oregano leaves (from the garden) and served with the cauliflower and steamed potatoes covered in butter, lemon and parsley. With red wine for me and Retsina for T. He claimed that it was the perfect wine with the dinner. (How can anyone enjoy drinking wine that smells and tastes like dirt? Clean dirt, mind. But dirt, nonetheless.)
The dinner looked stunningly beautiful too. You’re just going to have to take my word for that though. Photos??? Ha. Nope, once again, the camera was upstairs the whole time. (Sometimes it feels so freeing to not have to worry about whether the photo will do the dish justice. Of course, then it means the trade-off of having to work with the thousand words. :-))
When I was cutting up the cauliflower and relegating all that beautiful greenery that surrounded it to the composter, it occurred to me that the leaves might be edible. Are they?? Has anyone ever tried them?
One other thing: charcoal-grilling a whole chicken takes ages. We started it at around 7:00 and it still wasn’t even close to being done at 8:30. So we removed the charcoal from the barbecue (luckily, it was in a pan) and fired up the gas to finish the chicken that way. Ah, the wonders of modern technology.
We put the plates on the table at 9:00. How very fashionably late.