INGREDIENTS
by James Martin

James Martin’s recipe for cauliflower cheese, with its punchy béchamel sauce and flakes of cooked salmon, is a delicious use of leftovers. Skip the salmon for your Sunday dinner.

Main course

Buyer's guide

Romanesco is a variety of green cauliflower with pointed, lime-green curds. It is more delicate than the standard cauliflower, and cooks more quickly. You may also find orange or purple cauliflowers in farmers’ markets and farm shops.

Choose cauliflowers with firm, compact, creamy-white heads, stout fresh leaves, and clean white stalks. Avoid any with limp, yellowing leaves, slimy stalks or spotted brown curds.

Cauliflower is in season from February to May and again from August to December.

Storage

A good, undamaged head will keep loosely wrapped for over a week in the fridge. Supermarkets tend to cut off the leaves, but in fact they give the delicate curd extra protection.

To freeze, divide the cauliflower into florets and wash. Blanch in boiling water, drain, plunge into iced water and drain again. Transfer to freezer bags, label and seal. Cook from frozen.

Preparation

Trim off the leaves, cut off the core and separate the individual florets. Steam, fry, stir-fry or eat the florets raw in salads or eat as crudités with dips. Serve as a vegetable accompaniment to meat and poultry dishes, or use in soups, fritters, bakes, curries and, of course, cauliflower cheese. Cauliflower is also a major ingredient in piccalilli. Try roasting cauliflower – it really concentrates the flavour.