I still remember when I first flipped through Jamie Oliver’s book, Cook with Jamie, and came across this recipe for one of the more popular vegetables with my family, I was inexplicably drawn to the picture of an entire head of white cauliflower cooked whole, sitting in a bright red tomato and olive sauce with parsley scattered around it. Have a look.
It just looked like such an ingenious way of serving a vegetable that I regularly cook once a week, always routinely chopped up into florets and never, ever left whole in its entirety. It for sure will wow everyone when I bring the pot to the table! I thought to myself. And it did. For some reason, serving a cauliflower whole for guests to carve at the table looks much more majestic than serving a bowlful of cauliflower florets. Sort of like roast chicken: a bird whole and served uncarved is more impressive than little pieces of chicken parts all cut up on a serving platter. For cauliflower, all the more so because it is totally unexpected.
Anyway, this is just a great idea to jazz up the serving of cauliflower. Also, the fact that the cauliflower is served in the pot that it was cooked in can only make me like this recipe more because it makes cleaning up a step faster. And boy, do I hate having to get up from my chair to clear away all the plates and dishes after enjoying a scrumptious dinner.
To serve with the cauliflower, I made polenta. I usually serve my polenta firm, which is to say, I spread cooked polenta on a cookie sheet to cool and firm up before cutting the bright yellow slab into slim rectangular sticks and giving them a good blast in a hot oven to crisp them up. But tonight, I chose to keep things simple; I served the polenta soft – and my kids hated it! They skipped the polenta altogether and went straight for the cauliflower. I just can’t win, can I?