Braising is not just for carnivores. Although I do enjoy a good pot roast, I love braising vegetables, and feel this is often the best way to play up their flavors. The other advantage of vegetarian braises? They are much, much quicker than meat.
For example, this cauliflower gets browned in olive oil and garlic, letting a thin golden crust form on its firm white stalks. It's tossed with tangy sun-dried tomatoes to heighten and balance the mild, slightly sour flavor, and then simmered with milk for a dish that we love over pasta or on its own.
With the popularity of Jamie Oliver's legendary chicken braised in milk recipe, I was really curious about how vegetables would taste braised in milk. Cauliflower is a great vehicle for absorbing other flavors, and this dish makes a great sauce that's tasty spooned over steamed couscous tossed with some fresh parsley.
- Christine, January 2016
Creamy Braised Cauliflower with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
3 cups milk (not nonfat)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)
2 small onions, chopped
12 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 3 ounces), cut into strips
3 pounds cauliflower (2 medium or 1 large), cut into large florets
1 teaspoon salt
Place the milk in a small saucepan to warm over low heat.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven and toast the pepper flakes over medium heat, if using. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent.
Increase the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes. Cook until fragrant and softened, then add the cauliflower. Cook without stirring for a couple minutes, then stir to let it brown on another side. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the cauliflower is dark in spots and golden in others.
Reduce the heat to low and let the pan cool down a bit, then add the hot milk and salt, stir, and cover. Cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 7 minutes. Taste and season with more salt as needed.
Updated from a recipe originally published November 2010.