Let’s face it: cauliflower does not have a lot going for it. It looks like an underdeveloped brain and – though a lovely guy at my weekly market would sing about ‘snow white cauli a pound’ – it’s far from pearly.
It doesn’t separate into florets as neatly as broccoli and the ‘florets’ look more like squabs. It isn’t very nice raw, doesn’t acquire flavour when marinated; and when cooked, turns from tough to mushy in a blink of an eye.
It doesn’t have much taste but makes you burp for hours after eating it. It isn’t good for using in funky cakes or breads. You don’t see tortellini stuffed with cauliflower. It’s not exotic; in fact it’s probably only popular in its indigenous, boring north European habitat.
It stinks. No, seriously, it does.
Why in the world has it got so fashionable?
Admittedly the fame is transient. Poor European farmers thought they’d jumped on the bandwagon couple of years ago having planted legions of caulis, enough to feed the hipsters of the world twice over. Sic transit gloria mundi though – clean eaters got bored of the cauli sooner than the crops ripened.
One good thing came out of the cauli’s five minutes: scores of recipes for the whole roasted head. And that is something that transforms the sad veg: spice it up, butter it over, herb it on and – you know, it’s quite… well, good!