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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER – FIVE RECIPES

I keep meaning to share this recipe, but every day everyday life seems to pull me in several different directions, often at the same time. Then, before I have a chance to sit down and focus on any given project, I find that it’s 7:30pm and the kids are in bed and all I can muster energy for is scrolling through the maddening Netflix homepage trying to find something to watch. But tonight, here I am at nearly 8:00pm and the house is mostly quiet. I can hear the girls playing with their dolls in bed and I’m alone in the living room with a glass of red wine, and stormy spring clouds filling what I can see of the sky above the identical brick houses and tall trees outside the front window. Maybe it’s because I’m still a little hungry, or maybe because it’s cozy and quiet, but here I am finally ready to tell you about my adventures with cauliflower.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINIt might seem that those two words: “adventures” and “cauliflower”, don’t really belong together. But I’m here to tell you that they do. I never ate cauliflower before we moved to England; it was not even on my radar. I can’t remember my mom ever cooking it when I was younger. I think the few times I had it as a child it had been practically boiled into a bland paste, or served like sad white cardboard alongside the flashy cherry tomatoes and dull-but-safe baby carrots on a grocery-store-assembled vegetable platter. I may have braved a piece here or there but it wasn’t until the last few years that I started to become more aware of its’ possibilities.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINIt’s no secret that my cooking experience here has been filled with the challenges of learning new names for ingredients, cooking temperatures, a spiteful convection oven, and mostly packaged and precut vegetables. But, back in the fall, we went to a farm shop on the last day it was open before closing for the fall and winter. We wandered around with a pitchfork in search of anything we could pull from the ground and take home to cook. We ended up with a few end of the season carrots, beets, and a head of cauliflower. The cauliflower didn’t look particularly appealing or special, but it wasn’t sealed in plastic, and it was something I suspected I could prepare fairly easily given the stand off I was having with the oven, and the limited cooking equipment we’d purchased.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINThe cauliflower sat on the counter for a couple of days, looking a bit sad and lonely. I felt for the cauliflower because, at the time, I felt quite like the cauliflower. I picked it up and started to pull away the leaves from the slightly waxy core. I pruned the florets from the stalk and cut them into smaller pieces. I tossed them on a sheet pan with olive oil, flake salt, and freshly ground pepper, then I opened the oven and said a little prayer that it wouldn’t turn them into lumps of coal, and closed the door. They roasted, I tossed them, they roasted a bit more. I decided it was time to pull them from the oven when they were significantly caramelized, their centers were tender and their edges crisp and almost burnt.

I divided them into bowls, sprinkled the lot with a little more flake salt, and topped them with a frizzled edged olive oil fried egg. From that humble and very simple beginning, my roasting sheet has seen a lot of cauliflower action. I’ve attempted to pull together my favorite roasted cauliflower recipes below. These recipes would do well topped with a fried or poached egg, tossed with pasta, or on their own. Also, it should be noted that each of these recipes sound like a lot, but the vegetables cook down so much that each recipe will serve two adults. I don’t recommend trying to double them as that will cause the vegetables to steam rather than roast properly!

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER – FIVE VARIATIONS

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH FENNEL, GARLIC, ONION, AND HERBS DE PROVENCE

Ingredients.
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into small pieces
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced pole to pole
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and sliced
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
extra virgin olive oil
flake salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Toss the chopped vegetables with about 1/4 cup olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. Spread onto a roasting sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the vegetables are caramelized and crispy. Season to taste, and serve immediately.

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH ROASTED GARLIC

Ingredients.
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into small pieces
6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
extra virgin olive oil
flake salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Toss the cauliflower and garlic cloves with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread onto a roasting sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the vegetables are caramelized and crispy. Carefully peel the garlic cloves and toss them with the cauliflower. Season to taste, and serve immediately.

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH FENNEL, ONION, ZUCCHINI, AND PARMESAN

Ingredients.
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into small pieces
1 medium zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 red or yellow onion, halved and sliced pole to pole
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and sliced
freshly grated Parmesan
extra virgin olive oil
flake salt
freshly ground black pepper 0r red pepper flakes

Directions.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Toss the chopped vegetables with about 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and either black or red pepper. Spread onto a roasting sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Toss with 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, and roast for another 15-25 minutes, until the vegetables are caramelized and crispy. Sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan. Season to taste, and serve immediately.

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH FENNEL, CHORIZO, AND MANCHEGO

Ingredients.
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into small pieces
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup diced chorizo sausage
shaved Manchego cheese
extra virgin olive oil
flake salt

Directions.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Toss the chopped vegetables with a few tablespoons of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Spread onto a roasting sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Toss in the chorizo, and continue to roast for another 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are caramelized and crispy. Top with shaved Manchego. Season to taste, and serve immediately.

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER - FIVE RECIPESPINROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH RED ONION, ZUCHINNI, AND GORGONZOLA

Ingredients.
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and chopped into small pieces
1 red onion, halved and sliced pole to pole
7oz lardons (or bacon thinly sliced)
4oz crumbled Gorgonzola
extra virgin olive oil
flake salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Toss the chopped vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, and the bacon, and season with a pinch of pepper and salt.* Spread onto a roasting sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, tossing often, until the vegetables and bacon are caramelized and crispy. Sprinkle with the Gorgonzola. Season to taste, and serve immediately.

*Alternatively you can toss the vegetables with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and roast them, while cooking the bacon in a pan on the stovetop, draining it, and tossing it together at the end – this is definitely more healthy as you use olive oil for the veggies to roast in, rather than bacon fat.

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

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