recent episode revealed that sales have decreased by 35 per cent the last decade and last year nearly half of households didn't buy a single one of these cloudy brassicas. It is losing popularity to the greener and more vitamin-laden broccoli.
My favourite way to eat it is in a soup. Cauliflower soup is unmatched (except, perhaps, by Jerusalem artichoke) for its husky flavour and smooth texture, but I am also extremely partial to cauliflower cheese made with a strong cheddar, Stilton and topped with breadcrumbs to give it a crunchy gratin-like texture.
Earlier this year I visited Tel Aviv looking for the perfect flat bread and on our travels we came across these magnificent cauliflowers pictured (cooked ones on top), cooked whole, in a kind of rotisserie oven. They was gorgeous. Slightly crunchy, full of flavour, and not at all waterlogged - like over-boiled cauliflower can sometimes be. It is odd that the most common way of cooking vegetables - boiling - is also the least tasty.
Ever since, I have roasted my cauliflower instead. All you do is cut it into florets, drizzle liberally with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast. I warn you though, last time I made this I ate half the cauliflower hot and salty from the oven, as a mid-morning snack and didn't have enough for that evening's cauliflower cheese. Cauliflower, for elevenses? Why not.
Serves: Enough for one cauliflower cheese, or as a side dish for three to four.
Takes: Five minutes to prep, 25 minutes in the oven
One cauliflower - a normal white one, but if you can get a purple one too do. The colour contrast is joyous.
Turn the oven on to 220c. Cut the cauliflower into florets. The best way to do this is by either cutting it in half and then removing the central stalk. Or just using a vegetable knife to cut off florets, branch by branch, from the bottom.
Wash the cauliflower after cutting, but be sure to dry properly. The drier the cauliflower, the better it will roast. Put the florets into a clean baking tray. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper and give it a good shake, so everything is covered. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200c, turn over the cauliflower and cook for 10 more minutes. It is done when it is soft all the way through, slightly charred and crispy.
It is nice on its own as a snack (honestly!) or can be used in cauliflower cheese or as a side to pretty much anything.