To be truly cooked à la polonaise, a French expression for "in the Polish style," this Polish-Style Cauliflower (kalafior po polsku) should be garnished with chopped hard-cooked eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, and butter.
Here, the cauliflower is cooked and presented as a whole head. I omitted the eggs and replaced them with chopped almonds and dill (I've left in the parsley).
This is such an easy recipe that can be prepared in the microwave and takes all of 15 minutes from start to finish.
See the discussion of the Italian influence on vegetables in Polish cooking, below, after the recipe directions.
- 1 large head cauliflower, washed and trimmed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
- 4 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
- Chopped parsley and dill for garnish
- Place 1 large head washed and trimmed cauliflower, right side up, in a microwaveable dish with a lid. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover and microwave on high 8 minutes. Let cauliflower sit, covered, in the microwave while you prepare the buttered breadcrumbs.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter and add 4 tablespoons finely chopped almonds, cooking slowly to brown. Stir in 4 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs and cook about 1 minute or until crisp.
- Remove cooked cauliflower from a cooking dish, drain quickly, and place on serving plate. Spoon buttered almond breadcrumbs over and sprinkle with chopped parsley and dill.
The Italian Influence
Vegetables other than cabbage and root vegetables were virtually unknown in Poland until 1518 when Queen Bona Sforza, an Italian princess who married the widowed Polish King Sigismund I (Zygmunt), also known as Sigismund the Old, and introduced them to her new homeland.
Many Polish words for vegetables, in fact, are taken directly from Italian -- kalafiory (cauliflower), pomidory (tomatoes) and sałata (lettuce), for example. To this day, soup greens are known as włoszczyzna or "Italian stuff," włoski being the Polish word for "Italian."
What Is Cauliflower?
Cruciferous vegetables are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, are easy to grow and usually are a good buy.
More About à la Polonaise
Typically cauliflower and asparagus are prepared à la polonaise. For Poles, the hard-cooked eggs and chopped parsley are usually left out, leaving you with buttered breadcrumbs. Other Polish foods that get the à la polonaise treatment include Stuffed eggs and the sugar snap peas I enjoyed at Warszawa Restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif. Another example is the green beans à la polonaise I pair with this Hungarian Stuffed Beef Roulade Recipe.