Not so long ago, cauliflower was an all-but-forgotten vegetable, its only dinner-plate appearance coming as part of a bland, mushy medley of overcooked green beans and carrots. But today the humble white plant is being recognized as a dynamic, do-it-all veg, one you can dress up with exotic herbs and spices or serve as simply as you'd like. Roasted, cauliflower has a slightly sweet, nutty taste that blends seamlessly with the flavors of so many cuisines, from Indian to Italian to Vietnamese. Raw, it's a perfect base for dips and brings serious crunch to fresh salads. It's even meaty enough to stand on its own as a main dish (see "steak" recipe). Bonus: Cauliflower is superhigh in vitamins C, B, and K, meaning it's one of the few white foods that are actually good for you. These three preparations show off cauliflower's impressive range. Try them all, and play with the ingredients to find combinations you love. Then make some room in the vegetable drawer next to all that kale.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice one head of cauliflower from top to base into 3/4-inch slabs. Rub both sides of each slab with fresh garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat in 1 tbsp olive oil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat for all steaks.
Lay steaks on a baking sheet (for easy cleanup, line sheet with parchment), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes.
Puree 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp chili flakes, and 2 tsp fresh-squeezed orange juice. Drizzle dressing on steaks and serve.
Credit: Photograph by Nick Ferrari