January – Whole Roasted Cauliflower

It’s the time for winter vegetables, and cauliflower is having its day in court right now. For those folks who are avoiding carbohydrates due to dietary reasons, cauliflower is the go-to vegetable. Cauliflower rice and cauliflower mashed potatoes, not to mention cauliflower pizza crust and cauliflower tots, are having their moment. Here’s the amazing thing though, all those dishes are delicious! And, they are a wonderful way to sneak an extra vegetable onto your plate.

I usually roast cauliflower by breaking it into florets, tossing with olive oil and salt (maybe some urfu biber or chili flakes) and roasting at 425 degrees F for 40 minutes or so. That is long enough to caramelize the outside and soften the inside. If you are used to steaming or boiling cauliflower, you won’t recognize it as the same vegetable. Roasting brings out the most amazing flavor and sweetness.

Lately I have been hearing restaurant stories about a dish of whole roasted cauliflower (and carrots as well!), I wanted to try it.

Whole Roast Cauliflower

Whole Roast Cauliflower

Take a look at that! It could be the centerpiece of a vegetarian feast. I would recommend serving it with some kind of green sauce, maybe this roast garlic and arugula chimichuri or lemon salsa verde or try the following recipe from the New York Times for an almond herb sauce. I didn’t have time to make a sauce, but I have to say that it was delicious just as is.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Almond Herb Sauce

  • cup blanched almonds
  • 6 to 10 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for basting
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar (white or red), more to taste
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley, mint, tarragon, cilantro or a combination
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes(optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Cauliflower Preparation

  1. Place a heavy oven-proof skillet (I used a cast-iron skillet) or a baking sheet in the oven and turn the heat to 375 degrees. Place a small pan of hot water on the floor of the oven, to create steam.
  2. Break off and discard the outer leaves from the cauliflower. Cut off the bottom of the stem, and then use the tip of a small, sharp knife to cut off the leaves close to the stem. Carefully cut out the hard core of the cauliflower, near the bottom. Leave the main stem intact and make sure not to cut through any of the florets.
  3. Rinse the cauliflower (leave the water clinging to the outside) and place on a work surface, core side up. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to rub over the cauliflower until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Place the cauliflower on the hot pan in the oven, core side down, and cook until very tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. During the cooking, baste 2 or 3 times with more olive oil. It should brown nicely. If you have a convection feature, use it toward the end of baking to brown the crust.

 Sauce Preparation

  1. In a small frying pan, toast nuts over low heat, shaking often, just until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. Soak anchovies, if using, for 5 minutes in cool water. Rinse and set aside on paper towels.
  3. In a food processor, combine almonds, anchovies, garlic and butter and pulse until smooth. Mix in oil, then vinegar. Mix in herbs and red pepper flakes, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. When cauliflower is tender, remove from the oven. (If desired, run it briefly under the broiler first to brown the surface; there is no need to do this if you used convection.)
  5. Serve cauliflower in the skillet or from a serving plate.
  6. Roasted Whole Cauliflower

    Roasted Whole Cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

I don’t have a picture of the sauce because I didn’t make it. I’ll post a picture next time. The cast iron skillet made a nice presentation. I cut it into wedges for serving.

This recipe came from the New York times.

Leftover Roasted Cauliflower made a delicious Roasted Cauliflower Soup the next day. Stay tuned for that VERY easy recipe which can be adapted to any leftover vegetable you might have available.

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #103. I’m late to the party but this will be good with the leftovers.  You will find the fiesta at the Novice Gardener hosted by Angie. The co-host this week are Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

25 thoughts on “January – Whole Roasted Cauliflower

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