Cauliflower with Panko

Let's face it: cauliflower is not a sexy vegetable.  It's stinky and it's pale. But this recipe goes a long way towards bringing cauliflower to rock-star status.

Adding panko bread crumbs (Japanese style bread crumbs) and lots of garlic to just about anything raises its culinary status.  I like that this recipe is simple to prepare and looks pretty on the plate.  And it uses olive oil instead of butter which means you can serve it often, without any trace of guilt.

Cauliflower with Panko
Serves 8
From Cooking Light, Dec 2009

6 cups cauliflower florets (I break them with my hands, which looks nicer than chopping)
2 Tblsp water
3 Tblsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup panko (use gluten-free panko or regular breadcrumbs for a gluten-free version)
1 garlic clove, minced (I use more, about 3 cloves)
1 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley (I use 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Combine cauliflower and the 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave safe casserole.  Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir, then 3 more minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oils in a heavy pan (I use a Dutch oven) over medium high heat.  Toast panko until golden, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove panko to a bowl.

Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and garlic in the same pan you used for the panko.  Saute for 30 seconds.  Add cauliflower and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the panko, parsley, salt and pepper.  (Actually I reserve some of the panko to sprinkle over the top. It looks nicer.) Stir to combine.  Transfer the prepared cauliflower back to the casserole dish.  Serve.