cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)
As a child I hated cooked cavolfiore no matter how it was prepared. I could smell cavolfiore bollito (boiled) and minestra di cavolfiore (soup) even before entering the house. Not that my reaction had any deterrent effect on my mother: she continued to cook those two dishes regardless of my opinion. I still have problems with the boiled version, but I love cauliflower roasted and as an ingredients of stews.
As for raw cauliflower, that has never incurred my dislike. I even like the core: after I cut the florets, I reserve the torso, minus the tough end, and crunch on it while waiting for the rest to cook. I am particularly fond of the purple variety (cavolfiore viola) and like to mix it with the white one in a colorful combination. Taking a picture of the two varieties together was a bit of a challenge, because of the substantial difference of color.
My aunt Lucia made giardiniera a medley of pickled vegetables (verdure sottaceto, or sottaceti) and stored it in glass jars that she kept in a cupboard in the coolest part of her house. Of all the vegetables in the medley, cavolfiore was my favorite, because it was delicately crunchy and, in combination with vinegar, it was delicious. Unfortunately, I never asked my aunt to teach me how to make giardiniera, so now I can only use my memory to evoke a flavor that belongs forever to the past.
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, a food blogging event started by Kalyn's Kitchen, hosted this week by the founder herself, just returned from the BlogHer conference in Chicago. Here's the roundup of WHB #94.