DESCRIPTION.—These vegetables are botanically allied to the cabbage, and are similar in composition. They are entirely the product of cultivation, and constitute the inflorescence of the plant, which horticultural art has made to grow into a compact head of white color in the cauliflower, and of varying shades of buff, green, and purple in the broccoli. There is very little difference between the two aside from the color, and they are treated alike for culinary purposes. They were known to the Greeks and Romans, and highly appreciated by connoisseurs. They are not as nutritious as the cabbage, but have a more delicate and agreeable flavor.
PREPARATION AND COOKING.—The leaves should be green and fresh, and the heads of cauliflower creamy white; when there are dark spots, it is wilted. The color of broccoli will depend upon the variety, but the head should be firm, with no discolorations. To prepare, pick off the outside leaves, cut the stalk squarely across, about two inches below the flower, and if very thick, split and wash thoroughly in several waters; or better still, hold it under the faucet, flower downward, and allow a constant stream of water to fall over it for several minutes; then place top downward in a pan of lukewarm salted water, to drive out any insects which may be hidden in it; examine carefully for worms just the color of the stalk; tie in a net (mosquito netting, say) to prevent breaking, or place the cauliflower on a plate in a steamer, and boil, or steam, as is most convenient. The time required for cooking will vary from twenty to forty minutes.
(The recipes given are applicable to both broccoli and cauliflower.)
BOILED CAULIFLOWER.—Prepare, divide into neat branches, and tie securely in a net. Put into boiling milk and water, equal quantities, and cook until the main stalks are tender. Boil rapidly the first five minutes, afterward more moderately, to prevent the flower from becoming done before the stalks. Serve on a hot dish with cream sauce or diluted lemon juice.
BROWNED CAULIFLOWER.—Beat together two eggs, a little salt, four tablespoonfuls of sweet cream, and a small quantity of grated bread crumbs well moistened with a little milk, till of the consistency of batter. Steam the cauliflower until tender, separate it into small bunches, dip each top in the mixture, and place in nice order in a pudding dish; put in the oven and brown.
CAULIFLOWER WITH EGG SAUCE.—Steam the cauliflower until tender, separate into small portions, dish, and serve with an egg sauce prepared as directed for parsnips on page 244.
CAULIFLOWER WITH TOMATO SAUCE.—Boil or steam the cauliflower until tender. In another dish prepare a sauce with a pint of strained stewed smooth in a little water, and salted to taste. When the cauliflower is tender, dish, and pour over it the hot tomato sauce. If preferred, a tablespoonful of thick sweet cream may be added to the sauce before using.