Nestled next to the chives and basil at the farmers’ market in Bennington, all billowy white and cloud-like, was a gorgeous head of cauliflower. Weirdly, I never think of cauliflower as something to eat in the summer, or to get at a farmers’ market, for that matter. But it’s worth seeking out a farm-fresh cauliflower — like many other overlooked supermarket vegetables (I’m looking at you, cabbage), it’s just so much better straight off the farm.
Cauliflower is great in summer, too, because it can be lightly steamed and served hot or cold. This recipe makes that transition particularly well, going from warm dinner dish to straight-from-the-fridge lunch leftovers without much fuss. I used some steamed green beans in the recipe, too, for color and texture, but it would be just fine without them.
I used a custom curry spice mixture here, but you could use store-bought curry powder — sub in about 2 – 3 teaspoons, depending on the intensity of heat and flavor.
Curried Cauliflower and Cashews
- One head cauliflower, trimmed of green parts
- Handful cashews
- Spice mixture
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds, coarsely ground
- 4 tbs. butter or olive oil
- Fresh lime juice
- A few tablespoons each of snipped chives and chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp. salt
- Steam the cauliflower. Leaving it whole, place the cauliflower above an inch or two of salted water and steam for about 12 minutes, or until just tender (it will continue to cook after you take it off the heat). Set aside. When cool, chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
- Toast the nuts. Lately I’ve been doing this in the toaster oven for 5 minutes, but you can also toast nuts in a 350 degree oven (keep an eye on them) or in a pan on the stovetop over low heat. Set aside.
- Combine the spices and fennel seeds in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over high heat. Add the curry mixture and fennel seeds and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant. Add the herbs, lime juice, and cauliflower and toss to coat. Season with salt, sprinkling the cashews on top. Serve warm or at room temperature, over basmati rice.
PS: How do you pronounce “cauliflower”? I’ve heard it these ways: COLLIE-flower and COLL-ih-flour. Which is correct? I’ll admit to the former — I realize it sounds sort of bumpkin-y, but that’s how I heard it pronounced growing up. (This is a special little interest of mine, obsessing about how people pronounce things, and it’s so fun to do here in Western MA, where the accent is bizarrely, twangily midwestern to my raised-in-Long-Island-and-subdued-by-too-many-Californians-in-college ears.) How about you?