Cooking Cove: Long Island cauliflower … a harbinger of autumn

Cooking Cove: Long Island cauliflower … a harbinger of autumn

Purple cauliflower. Pixabay photo

By Barbara Beltrami

Once upon a time, many years ago, the East End of Long Island was densely populated with farms that grew potatoes and cabbages and cauliflower. Even though most of them have become vineyards, there are still a few that continue to produce the original crops, and Long Island cauliflower, whether the familiar white common variety or the purple, green or orange ones that are the harbingers of autumn, tastes virtually the same, although some people say the purple has a slightly nuttier taste. All are members of the cruciferous family which makes them great sources of vitamin C, and purple cauliflower is especially good for the anti-oxidants it contains. Whatever color you choose, you’re in for a veggie treat and a good dose of healthy nutrients.

Roasted Purple Cauliflower

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings


1 large head purple cauliflower

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese

1/3 cup toasted pignoli nuts


Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Slice cauliflower lengthwise through the core into 4 to 6 one-inch steaks. Brush both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with half the salt and pepper, then half the cheese. Bake about 15 minutes, until top is golden, then flip, sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper and cheese and bake another 15 minutes or so until that surface is golden and bubbly. Remove from oven, transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with toasted pignoli nuts. Serve with any meat, fish, poultry or vegetable protein.


YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 cups


1/2 head cauliflower cut into small florets

2 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4” slices

2 celery ribs, trimmed and cut into 1/4” slices

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

2 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 cups white vinegar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

Kosher salt to taste

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons celery seeds

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon dried marjoram


In a large bowl, toss together cauliflower, carrots, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeño pepper; pack into glass jars. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, celery seeds, fennel seeds and marjoram; stir well and bring to a boil. Once it boils, remove from heat, remove bay leaves and pour liquid over vegetables in jars. Let cool completely, place lids on jars, and refrigerate for up to one week. Serve with assorted salamis, prosciutto, and hard cheeses.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings


1/4 cup unsalted butter

White part only of one leek, rinsed and sliced

1/4 cup flour

1 quart chicken broth

1 head cauliflower broken into bite-size florets

1 potato, peeled and diced

Freshly ground white pepper

2 cups cream

1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves

1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives


In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, add leeks and saute until tender, about 6 minutes. Stirring constantly, add flour until mixture forms a paste, then, still stirring constantly, gradually add chicken broth, cauliflower, potato and  ground pepper. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 15-20 minutes, until cauliflower and potato are very tender. Remove from heat and let sit to cool slightly. In small batches ladle into bowl of food processor and puree; return pureed mixture to saucepan. Stirring constantly, add cream and bring just to a simmer; reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes, until it starts to thicken. Stir in herbs and serve hot, cold or at room temperature with focaccia.