The tender texture and the slightly sweet flavor of this wintry vegetable make it an ideal ingredient for eating raw in a salad, pureeing into soup, or even rounding out a pizza. And though it easily breaks down into bite-size pieces, we’ve got a whole (hint, hint) new way of cooking it.

By Heath Goldman

Recipes by Anna Painter

Colorful choices

Aside from the familiar white variety, cauliflower can be golden orange, purple, or light green (a cross between cauliflower and broccoli sometimes called broccoflower). Orange cauliflower contains more vitamin A than white, while purple is rich in the same healthy flavonoid found in red wine.

Deep thoughts

Mark Twain once wrote, “Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” And, indeed, the bumpy head of a cauliflower does look like a brain (and is also called, appetizingly, the curd). Look for heads that are tight and compact, with no dark spots and fresh, firm leaves fanning around them. If there are any small blemishes, gently rub them away with a grater or a microplane.