The cauliflower was famously described by Mark Twain as “nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” He was right, as it is thought that the cauliflower as we know it came from a wild cabbage, just like cabbages. They are members of the same family of Cruciferous vegetables, and are also related to broccoli, kale, collard greens and mustard. They may have originated in Asia Minor in modern day Turkey, where they have been an important crop since at least 600 BC, and this is also true of the Italian cauliflowers. They gained popularity in France in the mid 16th century, and were then cultivated in Northern Europe including the British Isles.
  The cauliflower has undergone great transformations since it began life as a wild cabbage. Today there are different coloured cauliflowers, purple, orange and green being the most common, as in the picture here. Scientists are keen to point out that this is a case of selective breeding, and not genetic engineering, as the orange one comes from a mutant cauliflower that was found in Canada. The green one is known as Romanesco and has been around since the 1990s.
  The carrot was also bred by the Dutch in the 17th century to be the ubiquitous orange one that we have now. The cauliflower has had similar treatment. The ‘rainbow’ caulis look better on a plate than the white ones, although they still taste much the same. The orange variety (Brassica olearacea var botyris) has 25 times the beta-carotene content of the white one, while anthocyanins also found in red wine and red cabbage, give the purple one its colour. Anthocyanin may help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting, and beta-carotene has potent antioxidant properties.
  The name cauliflower comes from the Latin caulis meaning cabbage and floris, meaning flower and the French name chouxfleur has the same meaning.
  Boiling a cauliflower is not the best way to cook one to get the maximum health benefits from it. You should sautée the florets, or par boil them and sautée them or steam them. They actually need very little cooking, and you can coat the florets in a flour and water batter, shallow or deep fry and serve with an olive oil and lemon sauce, which just needs to be blended.
  A white cauliflower contains vitamins A, C, and K plus many of the B-complex ones, as well as 18 amino acids, Omega-3 fatty acid, and the minerals calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and zinc.
  Studies are underway to determine if a diet which includes cauliflower can help to prevent cancers, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and a variety of other ailments. The cauliflower has anti-inflammatory properties and can aid digestion. Glucoraphin, a glucosinolate contained in this vegetable can help protect the stomach lining and so helps the digestive system.
  Why not try one of the rainbow cauliflowers instead of the usual white variety? It seems that they could have more health benefits than the white one, but don’t boil them or you will not reap the full benefits from the cauliflower.

1 cauliflower, green leaves removed and cut into florets
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, shredded
2 tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed
¼ pint dry white wine
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cauli romanesco

Pour 2 or 3 tbsps olive oil into a pan; add the garlic and parley and fry for two minutes, stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn.
Blanch the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water for 2 mins. Remove from the heat and drain, and dry on absorbent paper.
Add the cauliflower to the oil and stir till a golden-brown colour (2-4 mins).
Stir in the tomatoes, wine and seasoning and cook, stirring, for 2 mins.
Serve hot and top with the grated cheese.
Cauli purple
This can be used as a side dish with veal, chicken or fish, or as a main meal with pasta of your choice.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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