This was NOT how I wanted to celebrate reaching the halfway mark of The A-Z of Cooking. Because that’s where we are – M is for Meatless Mains! I decided to use the current darling of the vegetable world, the cauliflower to make the intriguing sounding Cauliflower Basket. Here’s what it looks like in The A-Z:
Hmm…you say. Not very basketlike you say. Well, you’re both right and wrong. Wrong because hidden in that seemingly normal cauliflower is a whole melange of….well…more cauliflower with cheese and eggs and capers and pickles.
On the other hand, you’re absolutely right because in terms of being a good material for a basket, cauliflowers SUCK. It probably explains why someone had to invent wicker. So, what happens in real life when you try to make a basket out of a cauliflower? Well, you get something that looks like the creature from the Black Lagoon and / or something the creature from the Black Lagoon vomited onto a baking tray.
There are so many flaws in this recipe that I don’t even where to start.
Cauliflower Basket – The Good
So, I’ll start with the ONE overarching positive.
This tastes DELICIOUS. No, really. It does. Stop laughing.
I’ll just wait shall I?
Cauliflower Basket – The Bad
Okay…you might want to go grab yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit. We might be here a while.
- You need to cook a whole cauliflower. Do you have any idea how long this takes? Which may have been fine in the 1970’s when I’m guessing utilities cost nothing but nowadays? That cauliflower is going to end up costing you more than caviar!
- Next. The actual premise of the recipe is fundamentally structurally flawed. Once you have spent an hour cooking it, you then need to cut a piece out of the top of the cauliflower so ideally you now have a U-shaped hole in your cauliflower. Here’s the thing. This doesn’t work. Because the minute you start to cut down into the cauliflower, you are cutting away the support for the sides of that U. So the walls of your basket start to fall away.
- So then you make a very tasty cheese sauce, chop up the bits of cauliflower that you have cut out of the middle and pile it all back into the U. Except of course, you don’t have a U so it falls all over the baking tray.
- This recipe is found in the Meatless Mains section. This meal is by no means a main dish. It is a side dish. A very tasty side dish. A delicious side dish. But not a main. This would be great with steak or chicken. It is not enough in itself to make a meal. Look how lonely it looks on the plate. It’s almost crying for a little bit o’ roast chicken to keep it company!
- Because you are using a whole cauliflower you end up making a TON of this, so unless you are planning on serving it for a large gathering of people, you will be eating Cauliflower Basket for a week.
- If you were planning on serving this to large gathering, be prepared at best to have raised eyebrows and at worst to be publicly mocked. This is one fugly looking dish.
Here is the original dumbarse recipe from The A-Z of Cooking:
A much more sensible way to make this would be to cut the cauliflower into florets, par boil them and just pour the sauce over top. This would keep the flavour but remove all of the annoying things about it. And eat it as a side!
There’ll be more celebrating next time, it’s been my birthday and I made cake!
Have a fabulous week everyone!