How to Prepare Cauliflower
Begin by removing the outer leaves. You may choose to wash and reserve these as they are edible and can be used to flavour broths. Alternatively, they can also be seasoned and roasted, like kale chips. To minimize breaking up the florets when you are separating them from the main stalk, cut down the stalk as opposed to cutting down through the florets.
Cauliflower can be left whole, halved, quartered, separated into small florets, sliced, or finely chopped. To clean, wash the cauliflower under cold, running water. The main goal when preparing cauliflower is to cut it into same-sized pieces to ensure it cooks evenly. Keep in mind, the smaller you cut cauliflower, the faster it will cook.
Cauliflower can be enjoyed raw for its sweet crunch, or served hot if you prefer to enjoy softer, tender florets. Try it boiled, steamed, roasted, grilled, deep-fried, or even pickled.
To Cook Cauliflower in less than 20 minutes: Place one medium-sized head of cauliflower, stem side down, in a 4 to 5 quart pan. Boil, covered, in 1 inch of water until stem end is tender when pierced (15-20 minutes). Drain.
To Cook Cauliflower in less than 10 minutes: Place 1 to 1½ pounds of florets in a wide frying pan. Boil, covered, in ½ inch of water until tender when pierced (5-9 minutes). Drain.
To Cook Cauliflower in less than 5 minutes: Place a pound of ¼-inch thick slices in a wide frying pan. Boil, covered, in ½ inch water until tender when pierced (3-5 minutes). Drain.
Whole Cauliflower: Place a 1¼ to 1½ pound whole head, stem side down, in a microwave safe dish. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Microwave on HIGH for 10-11 minutes. Carefully turn over after seven minutes.
Florets: Place 1¼ pounds of florets in a microwave safe dish. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Microwave on HIGH for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time. Let stand, covered, for 4 to 5 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender when pierced.
Steam: Place whole head, florets, or ¼-inch slices on a rack. Steam until tender when pierced (20 to 25 minutes for a whole head, 10 to 18 minutes for florets, 7 to 12 minutes for slices).
Stir-fry: Cut florets into ¼-inch slices. Stir-fry up to 5 cups, using 1 tablespoon of oil, for 1 minute. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of liquid, cover, and cook until tender-crisp (4 to 5 minutes)
Roast: Cut cauliflower into florets, large slices or “steaks”. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and/or your favourite spices. Roast at 350°F until fork-tender.