Friday, February 27, 2015

Roasting Cauliflower


I was just told my one of my cooking clients last night that she is becoming a cauliflower fan because of me.  She has been on a very restricted diet and was not eating potatoes for awhile and continues to stay away from rice. So on the evenings that I make the rest of her family something with potatoes or rice, I roast cauliflower for her. I either leave them whole like in the picture above, or I put it in the food processor after roasting to give it a mashed potato like texture.  This has created a flavor that she hadnt experienced before.

You may think cauliflower is a boring vegetable. no strong flavor or color. And when steamed it is pretty middle of the road. This is where cooking technique comes in.

Roasting at high heat creates more flavor and texture. I could live the rest of my life without steamed or raw cauliflower. But once it goes into a 475 degree oven and turns a little brownish black and crispy, well, get out of my way, and no, you cant have any. This method of cooking creates caramelization (the dark brown bits) and the flavor of the cauliflower changes to something buttery and nutty, without it being being drenched in butter. 

I hope you will give this a try.

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or just enough to drizzle and lightly coat the vegetable
2 teaspoons salt

Procedure:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil. 

Heat oven to 475 degrees and place one of the shelves at the lowest point. 

Trim cauliflower down to medium to bite-size florets. How the florets look isnt important, but having them all around the same size is, or they will cook unevenly.
Place cauliflower on prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. 
Toss the cauliflower around on the sheet to make sure they are all coated with some oil.  Sprinkle with salt and place on lowest shelf in the oven.
Roast for 10 minutes, and then check to see how they are doing.  They should be sizzling and the bottoms should be turning brown.  The picture below is the browning you are looking for.
If they are not browning yet, leave in oven and check again in 5 minutes. Pierce with a fork to test for doneness. You want the cauliflower to be slightly soft where the fork easily pierces through, but not mushy. They are extremely hot and will continue cooking once you remove them from the oven.  

Once the cauliflower has the beautiful, crisy brown edges, remove from oven, place in a serving bowl and serve.

And if you eat dairy, specifically parmesan, then add some grated parm at the end and let it melt, like in this recipe from Bon Appetit.

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