Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cruciferous Goodness!

Right about now, gardens are yielding major harvests of various kinds.  We barely have time to preserve, utilize or give to friends and family before our gardens are ready to show us more of the good stuff.  Popular home garden veggies include green beans, corn, squash, cabbage, zucchini, peas, beets and broccoli to name a few.  Though some people grow broccoli at home, they may not be as partial to it's lighter colored cousin, cauliflower.  Both are in the cruciferous or cabbage family.  Cauliflower is rich in major vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium and zinc, riboflavin,thiamine, and a host of other B vitamins.  Cauliflower is also rich in dietary fiber and phytochemicals known to reduce risks of certain cancers.  There are 4 major types of cauliflower and 4 major colors including white, green, orange and purple.  Cauliflower is best served raw or with relatively low cooking times, as with the extensive heat, there is a drastic breakdown of it's healthy chemical components.  Cauliflower makes for an excellent substitute for potatoes, being similar in taste and texture, but without the carbohydrate factor.  Today's recipe consists of fresh cauliflower and several ingredients of Asian origin to produce a quick and delicious side dish for any occasion.  This recipe is great, because aside from being delicious, it can also promote and maintain a healthy prostate for the men in your life.  Plus, the thermogenic effects of the chilies will help to raise the metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day!!!
Spicy Cauliflower Saute
1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp. rendered bacon fat or olive oil
2 dried Thai chilies
1 tsp. sambal oelek
2 tbsp. oyster sauce, plus 1 tbsp. water
pinch of brown sugar
scant pinch of allspice
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
splash of lime juice
Preheat cast iron skillet or saute  pan to medium high heat.  Add oil.
Meanwhile,  remove thick inner stalk of cauliflower.   Slice from top to bottom in about 1/4 inch increments.  Season with PEPPER, THE SALT WILL BE ADDED LATER.
Carefully add cauliflower and Thai chilies to pan and shake slightly to get  cauliflower settled and caramelization on some of the slices.  
Cook for about 2 minutes undisturbed, then add  kosher salt to taste.  
After about 1 more minute, toss again to to allow other pieces to get some caramelization, and add sambal oelek, oyster sauce, brown sugar, allspice, garlic and lime juice.
Toss to coat.  Cook for 1 minute more and turn off heat.
Cauliflower should have bite and not be mushy, so DO NOT overcook.  
Some of the florets will break apart while sauteing and that is o.k.

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