What’s caulilini? New veggie coming soon

New veggie 'caulilini' coming soon

SALINAS, CA (KGO/CNN) - A California agricultural business has a new product it wants you to try - a variety of cauliflower they’re calling “caulilini.”

It’s from the same folks who introduced “broccolini” a few years ago. Rick Harris, with Mann Packing Growing Operations, couldn’t be happier after putting two years into developing a new variety of cauliflower.

"If you look at it, it's not perfect. It's not in the head form," Harris said. "It's sort of ugly, but when you floret it up and you taste the flavor, the sweetness, it's like, 'Oh my God, what is this stuff?' It is so unique."

It’s a variety of cauliflower for people who might not like cauliflower. Harris says he focus on improving its taste, experimenting initially with 12 different seeds.

"As the sun hits the curd here, the top of the head, it enhances the greenness," he said. "And when we enhance the greenness, we enhance the flavor. It gets sweeter."

Similar cauliflower can be found at Asian grocery stores and farmers markets, but this one has been developed for the mass market and all-year availability.

Chefs including Robert Dasalla at The Table in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood have been testing it on diners, as they try different recipes.

"Because it is so delicate, it's not like you're getting a head of cauliflower," Dasalla said. "The fact that we do pair it with some other spices and some other ingredients that not only amplify but compliment it as well."

Home chefs will find that caulilini can be served raw, sauteed, roasted or even stir-fried.

"There are so many different ways to work with it, because chefs are already doing that. I think that consumers are going to catch on pretty quickly," said Loree Dowse, creative marketing director.

Caulilini isn't available in stores yet, but negotiations are underway to begin national distribution.

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