Knife skills (and a nice sharp knife) come in handy much of the time in the kitchen. Oftentimes, however, a recipe will call for cutting cauliflower or broccoli into florets. Hmmmmm…what are florets (?) you may ask yourself. Or, more specifically, how does one cut a head of slightly cumbersome cauliflower or broccoli into said florets?
1 paring knife
1 larger, sharp knife, such as a boning knife (5 or 6″, thin blade)
Begin with a freshly rinsed head of either cauliflower or broccoli.
Next, remove leafy bits around the base with your fingers, or in rare cases, use a paring knife.
Using the tip of the boning knife, insert into the center of the stem (base) of the head. Work your knife through until you have split the head into two equal parts.
Working with one half at a time, remove core by making a triangle incision around the dense stem. Remove with fingers, wiggling it out gently so as not to break apart head.
Cut each half into segments and work with one segment at a time, trying to follow the natural splits of the stalks. I like to this of this step as separating the trees. You’ll be able to see the natural growth quite easily.
Once you have your trees, these are what we call florets. Trim them further to your liking. Most of the time, you’ll want the individual stems of the florets to not be too long, and each floret to be bite size, or at least fork-size. Sometimes I’ll have a floret that just seems too big. I will at this time cut it in half at its stem (base) and then gently pull apart at the leafy section, thus helping it to still carry on the look and characteristics of a floret even if it is a little more “man-made.”