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One pan. A bit of olive oil. Cauliflower florets. Salt and pepper. A few shards of Parmesan. Maybe a dusting of ground cayenne. Dinner is done. For nights when a little is better. Or for when you need a little extra-special side that’s ultra-easy.

I occasionally buy too many vegetables because I’m crazy about them. That’s pretty close to how it is. While I like fruit, I love vegetables. I really like meat; I adore fish.  But vegetables just do something for me. It has often occurred to me that I’m so attracted to them because they exist in infinite variety, colors, shapes, tastes, textures, sizes, and even styles–think Thai or Japanese eggplant and see below…

                                  Meat comes in brown.

This could be coming up because it’s February.  A long way from summer’s bounty. Thank God for Fed-Ex vegetables.  But it could have come up any old month. Any new place. Really.  And, by the way, cauliflower prices have been pretty darned high due to the weather and drought in California. I’ve been buying 2 pounds of florets at Costco for under four bucks as it so beats the grocery store price.

My folks planted a huge vegetable garden every summer.  That garden required a lot of sweat, water, and fertilizer.  We ate out of it year-round because we canned and froze what we couldn’t shove in our mouths all summer. So I come by it naturally. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

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        Below:  A few fun meals where I’ve given vegetables the starring role and also some of my favorite vegetable pics. (Links for recipes are below each pic.)

              Or scroll past all these tasty things for cauliflower recipe.  

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                                 My Grilled Eggplant “Lasagna”

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               Quick Summer Provençal Vegetables on Mint Couscous with Basil

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                                        Beet greensIMG_2864

 Grilled Cheese Peppers

Asparagus-Wild Rice Chowder
Food-Salmon-Eggplant

                     Salmon on Eggplant Sauté with Asparagus, Olives and Peppadews

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 Grilled Cod Salad

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      Salmon Salad with Asparagus and Avocado Dressing (or what to do with leftover salmon)

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth?  
Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.
–  Henry David Thoreau

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                                 Some chopped butternut squash in the sun

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A favorite tomato song, “Homegrown Tomatoes”  Here’s another version of this famous song.–The above beauties are a few of mine.

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        A forever favorite:  sautéed zucchini for breakfast with eggs,  for lunch on a salad with tuna, or for dinner along side grilled pork chops.

This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes, these onions … will soon become me.  Such a tasty fact!
–  Mike Garofalo

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                                        Alyce’s Israeli Couscous Salad

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                                                      Instant Pickles

IMG_5466          Hot Beet Green and Kale Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese, and Pecansc96d1-img_3927                          Zucchini Caprese with Orange Haricots Verts

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 Japanese eggplant bathing in the kitchen sink with yellow zucchini and fresh herbs. (Everybody all in the tub together, please.)

a385a-img_1912                    Thai eggplant from the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market (2012)06b7d-img_1747      Spicy Cucumber Soup with Feta and Red Pepper (from my soup cookbook)73cad-carrots

                Vegetables from the the Seattle Pike Place market (2009)d661c-img_0969

                                      Minnesota’s sweetest corn

Shall I show you my pot roast photographs? I thought not. Instead, sauté up my gorgeous little cauliflower dish. You’ll be as happy as I was, I’ll just bet.

IMG_2158CRISPY PARMESAN CAULIFLOWER

serves 2

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • One pound cauliflower florets (A medium head of cauliflower will be 2 pounds/4cups)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 ounce Parmesan shards–or more to taste (Shaved off the wedge of cheese using a grater or a sharp knife)
  • Ground cayenne, optional

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium flame; add oil. When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower florets, season them with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Sauté, turning as needed, until browned and nearly tender. Turn down heat. Add Parmesan shards and continue cooking until the cheese at the bottom of the pan is crispy and the cauliflower is granny tender and quite browned. Be patient; these things shouldn’t be rushed. Sprinkle with ground cayenne, if desired.  Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

COOK’S NOTES: I like this for a quick, light meal all on it’s own.  Add some buttered and parleyed rice or toasted baguette for a larger meal. This dish makes a tasty, simple side for grilled or roasted meat or fish.

If you have leftover cauliflower you won’t use within a few days, cook it for 3 or 4 minutes in boiling water with a little lemon juice. Drain and cool quickly in an ice water bath. Freeze in well-sealed containers or gallon freezer bags for several months.

Wine:  A little rosé would go a long way here. It’s not just for summer any more.

PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE: CRISPY PARMESAN CAULIFLOWER

If you liked this, you might like my…

Curried Cauliflower

or my Cauliflower-Cheese Soup with Bacon & Wine 

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Sing a new song,

Alyce