Smaller and easier to handle than large cauliflower, this miniature version of the cauliflower vegetable only measures about 16 - 18 cm in diameter. Nestled in firm-textured edible green leaves, the cauliflower's curd, or head, is made up of thick tightly packed clusters of light lime green flower buds. The heads of green cauliflower are also referred to as "buttons". The flavor of this tender vegetable has notes of both cauliflower and broccoli and lacks the bitterness that can sometimes be found in large cauliflower.
Baby Green cauliflower's peak season is in fall and winter.
Historically there are over 100 documented varieties of cauliflower, most of which are white in color. However, growers and plant breeders continue to produce new varieties. One of the newest members of the family is broccoflower, a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, which is also known simply as cauliflower broccoli.
Green cauliflower is high in both fiber and vitamin C. It also contains selenium, which works with Vitamin C to boost the immune system as well as a fair amount of vitamin A, folate, calcium and potassium. It also contains high levels of phytochemicals know as glucosinolates which scientists believe will help prevent the onset of certain types of cancer.
Green cauliflower is excellent in both raw and cooked preparations. It can be sauteed, roasted, fried or steamed. Roasting will enhance its flavor. Segmented raw florets can be added to pasta and grain based salads. Its miniature size is perfect for making pickled cauliflower. Pair with cream based dips and serve whole heads of baby Green cauliflower on crudite platters or roast and serve whole as a main vegetarian entree. The flavor of baby Green cauliflower pairs well with cumin, curry, garlic, onion, parmigiano cheese and pine nuts. Use within a few days of purchase for optimal freshness, texture and flavor. To store, wrap head in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate in crisper drawer. Do not wash until ready to use.
Thriving in cool moist areas, the California central coast and the coastal areas of New York State produce top quality cauliflower varieties. California is the leading supplier followed by Arizona. New York, Michigan, Oregon and Texas also contribute to the nation's supply.