In Season West Coast: Cauliflower

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Like so many vegetables, cauliflower is one of those that is available year round but few realize that there is indeed a season for it. Cauliflower season runs from October through April but it's at its best starting in December. Look for compact, dense heads without any discolorization. To store, place in a plastic bag and put in the refrigerator, where it should keep for about a week. Of course you could eat it raw, tossed in a salad or steamed, but it's a little dull and doesn't really capitalize on the potential of cauliflower's flavor.

Caramelization, either through roasting or sautéing, tends to enhance cauliflower's texture and brings out a slightly nutty flavor. It works really well in Italian preparations, sautéed with anchovies and then tossed with pasta, toasted pine nuts and raisins or even currants and it's great with the complex spices found in Indian cooking. A lot of people love combining it with cheese in a gratin although even a simple preparation like showering a bowl of florets with toasted breadcrumbs and drizzling with something acidic like lemon juice or balsamic vinegar is immensely satisfying.

Some interesting cauliflower recipes worth trying out include:

Caramelized Cauliflower

Garlicky Braised Cauliflower with Capers

Indian Roasted Cauliflower

Curried Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Tomatoes

Penne con Cavolfiore

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