CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Cauliflower is a perfect stand-in for starches. I have long seen recipes for potato and macaroni salad done up with cauliflower. Now it's rice that's being displaced.
I recently tried the recipe below by applying my own recipe for fried rice, but using cauliflower. More carb-friendly than rice, it was a success among the family taste-testers. It even looked like rice.
That started me thinking and looking through my recipes to see where rice can be pushed aside by the more sturdy cauliflower, as in red beans and rice, risi pisi (Italian rice and peas), yellow rice with cashews and so on. You may be inspired to do the same with your recipes.
In addition to being mixed with other vegetables, cauliflower can stand on its own ear in the culinary world either raw (crudite), cooked tender and covered with a blanket of melted cheese, or baked in a gratin.
The healthy potato-cauliflower dish also garners rave reviews around the homestead. Adapted from a Mr. Food diabetic recipe, it consists of equal parts of the cooked vegetables mashed with butter or your favorite butterlike blend.
"Those potatoes were really, really good," was the compliment most voiced by diners at cucina Grigoraci, especially because they were in the dark about the ingredients. A little surprise always accompanies the disclosure, as does the request to make it again.
Another recipe today that's well received is from the White House executive chef Cristeta Comeford. It's a gratin -- or, in not so highfalutin' words, scalloped cauliflower. No potato this time, and not so much healthy as delicious with a creamy sauce and a goodly helping of melt-easy cheese.
In fried rice, you are working with an already-cooked leftover rice, which generally served its purpose in a solo presentation the day before. It can be thrown into the mix at the last minute. The grated fresh raw cauliflower needs to reside on the heat a tad longer.
About two-thirds of the way into the fried rice cooking steps, sauté the cauliflower with the aromatics until softened before proceeding with scrambling the egg and finishing off with peas and sauce.
The final touch is teriyaki sauce, to taste. Start by stirring in just one or two capfuls, then taste, adding more as desired. You can always add, but it's hard to correct when that sauce is overdone.
Reach Judy Grigoraci at ...@suddenlink.net.
Cauliflower "Fried Rice"
Makes 6 servings.
1/4 cup chopped or matchstick-cut carrots
1/4 cup chopped green onions, including green tops
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil, plus more as needed
2 cups grated raw cauliflower (grated on large hole side of hand grater)
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed under hot water
SAUTÉ carrots, onion, garlic and ginger in oil in skillet or wok until starting to soften; stir in cauliflower, adding little more oil if needed.
COOK covered on low heat, stirring often, until cauliflower is soft; make a well in the center and add egg, scrambling to cook; stir cooked egg into cauliflower mixture. Stir in peas and cook until peas are heated through.
REMOVE from heat; stir in teriyaki sauce to taste.
Nutrition information:Per 1/6 recipe: 50 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3 grams fat, zero grams saturated fat, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 30 milligrams sodium, 4 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein.