The Fork

Caul Me Sweetheart

Y es, yes, raw tuna is the hottest thing on the planet, but it is so yesterday. (As in, I wrote about it in the paper yesterday.) But the trend of today is CAULIFLOWER. I saw this on some end-of-year lists but kind of ignored it because I thought cauliflower was one of those things people say they eat, or want to eat, but then never actually do.

Also, unlike raw tuna, cauliflower does not dominate menus in Santa Fe. There's a very dressy cauliflower bisque on the menu at Geronimo, with duck confit, truffles and saffron. There's a very good fried cauliflower app at Radish and Rye and Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen does a super-healthy Rainbow Paleo Plate (roasted beets, acorn squash, cauliflower rice and arugula with lemon vinaigrette and toasted walnuts).

I picked up a head of pretty purple cabbage at Smith's the other night because new year new healthy eating promise blah blah blah.

But cruising the frozen vegetable aisle I was stunned to find a big new section full of cauliflower stuff. Green Giant is making roasted cauliflower florets, a veggie medley with riced cauliflower, peas and carrots; mashed cauliflower with cheddar and bacon; tater tots made of cauliflower. Birds Eye cauliflower florets in spicy buffalo and ranch flavors. What in the HELL? Apparently Big Food is banking on cauliflower.

Well, they got me with the cauliflower tots, and you know what? They are secretly good. I can't believe that's true or that I'm admitting it, but whatever strange magic happens in the labs at Green Giant, it's working. When the tots are cooking the kitchen smells like cauliflower, but the tots themselves are crispy, flavorful and un-cauliflowery. I actually think vegetable-hating children (and man-children) would eat these things. Which is crazy.

HOWEVER, don't forget this magical vegetable is a member of the cabbage family, so if you've ever had the toots after eating too much broccoli or Brussels sprouts, then you will toot like a tugboat if you OD on cauliflower. Take it from me.

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