ZAGAT: Megan Steintrager
February 3, 2015
What is it about cauliflower? Lately you can't pick up a menu without seeing it — roasted, fried, pickled, raw, mashed, grilled, rotisserie-cooked, covered in cheese, with bacon, vegan, blackened, chopped, whole, served as "steaks," turned into couscous and rice, and seasoned with flavors from Italy, France, Thailand, India and the Middle East. In fact, cauliflower's malleability is one of the things that has chefs going crazy for it — how many vegetables can stand in for meat and potatoes?
Indeed, more than half the chefs Zagat.com spoke to about cauliflower used the word "versatile" to describe it — in terms of flavor pairings, cooking preparations and partners on the plate. "It's a versatile vegetable — it can be sweet, spicy, caramelized, and it pairs well with different meats," says Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert, adding, "Cauliflower is trendy again after being forgotten for a while. The last time it was really popular was when Jean-Georges opened [in 1997]. There was a dish with caramelized cauliflower and a caper-raisin sauce. I think people are embracing it again because it's fairly inexpensive and easy to cook."