Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day Two Fifty Nine - Cauliflower Results

It's time for those results folks, did you figure out who has won the chance to be paired with our dear cauliflower this week?

Yes? No?

Well either way, let's get going right away with these results!

Contestant Number # 1 : Chaource - Definitely like oil and water with the cauliflower, there will be no sense of melding here -- it will be a completely one sided relationship, all about the Chaource. Now, not that there is anything wrong with that, but this week cauliflower is supposed to be the star. Chaource is a hard one to pair successfully with vegetables, I suggest letting it sing on its own, might be the best route! Spread a nice thick slice on some crusty bread and pair it with a nice medium bodied red wine and you're ready to go!

Contestant Number # 2 : Queso de la Serena - Here is where things get tricky folks, our second contestant would be a fine match for our cauliflower, but not the best choice. Why you may wonder? Well, say for example you roasted the cauliflower florets and then let them cool and dipped them into a nice gooey wheel of La Serena, that could certainly be a delish pairing route, no? But the cheese's greatness might get a bit in the way of the cauliflower -- you have to remember  that cauliflower has a delicate and nuanced flavor profile and needs to be paired with something that will complement but not overwhelm. La Serena complements, but overwhelms a bit. That being said, why not give it a whirl, I guarantee it will be delish!

Contestant Number # 3 : Manouri - We have our winner this week! Why you may ask? Consistency and texture have a lot to do with how one envisions pairing a cheese with cauliflower because it has such a specific feel to it. Being able to grate a cheese or thinly slice a cheese so that it has a similar firmness to the cauliflower is a plus. Coupled with the fact that both the Manouri and the cauliflower were full of gentle flavor moments and when paired together, each accentuates the other. How would I prepare these two together? Simple is the way to go here; do not get too carried away with a laundry list of ingredients, it will ruin the dish.

I would take a head of cauliflower and slice it like bread so that you would have large thin slices of the cross section of the vegetable. Coat each side with a mixture of EVOO, diced parsley, chives, sea salt, and black pepper. Place the cauliflower on a stove top grill for a few minutes per side just to get a light char on both sides. Then place it in the oven at 250 degrees to cook for about ten minutes to get it nice and roasty. While the cauliflower  is in the oven, slice a few good slices of Manouri and sear these on the grill as well. Don't let the cheese stay on the grill for more than 30 seconds per side though, you want to keep your slices intact. The reason you are able to grill the Manouri is because of the lack of water content present in the cheese. Once the cauliflower is done, pull it out of the oven and top with your slice of Manouri and a little homemade peach, parsley, chive salsa.

How to make the salsa? Dice up one peach and combine with some chopped up herbs, sea salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. This will add some color and additional flavors to this delish pairing transforming it into a savory yet sweet dish. Enjoy with a nice glass of Gewurtzaminer.

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