Not Makeup: Cauliflower
aka: "I Can't Believe I Ate The Whole Thing!"
You know what they say about makeup -- "a girl can't live on makeup alone"*. And so I thought I'd share this recipe for roasted cauliflower with y'all. Maybe it's old news to you, but it's just so darn tasty that I really must post it.
Cauliflower, despite its fanciful name, is not exactly the sexiest of vegetables. It doesn't have the vibrant lure of bell peppers, or the lush texture of a portabello. It is not the incredibly flavourful sweet onion, nor the straight-up vixen that is asparagus. But it has hidden potential... don't mistake cauliflower for a wall flower!
When thinly sliced and roasted, cauliflower loses its bitter edge, and takes on a crispy, golden exterior. It becomes sweeter; softer. Some have likened it to tasting like french fries, and while I wouldn't go quite that far, it is very very very good. So good, infact, that I ate an ENTIRE head, by myself last night.
You think I'm crazy, I know. But look! How can anyone resist this?
YUM! Here is the recipe:
1 Head of Cauliflower (or more!)
About 1/4 cup of good olive oil
Kosher or Sea Salt to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
(Serves 2 as a side dish. Or 1, if you're me. It does cook down quite a bit.)
First, preheat your oven to 400F. Slice up your cauliflower into 1/4" or 1/8" thick slices. Some people just start slicing up the whole head, and others cut it into large florets first, before slicing. Do whatever feels right to you. Either way, you will end up with some large, lacey slices, and then lots of little crumbles and mini florets.
Throw the whole mess in a big bowl and toss with the olive oil to cover. You don't need a whole lot of oil, just enough to coat everything thinly. Salt and pepper to taste, being sure to get the seasoning all mixed in.
Spread the cauliflower onto a baking sheet. I use a foil lined one to help it cook more evenly, but you don't have to. They key is to get as much surface-area contact between the cauliflower and the pan as possible. This ensures the best browning and crisping. I usually do one head over a large sheet and a small sheet, but apparently 1 head is supposed to fit on one large sheet. Just try to get it in 1 layer, and you should be ok.
Pop it into the oven. One head should take about 40 mins at 400, but you really just have to watch, as I find it varies from oven to oven, and from cauliflower to cauliflower. It's done when it looks all golden and crispy -- in fact, you can even go a bit darker than what the photo above depicts. Some of the little crumbly bits will brown faster, but don't worry too much, it'll all taste good.
If you find some areas of the pan browning too fast, give everything a good stir to move stuff around. You can flip it half way through too, although I'm not very good at that part, and have omitted it successfully before.
If you haven't tried this already, you really need to! Even people who don't like cauliflower cooked other ways find themselves loving this. It is so easy, so quick, and so good. Healthy too! The recipe is ultra versatile -- you can roast other veggies prepared in similar ways (broccoli, or asparagus, or yams spring to mind), purée it to use in soups or sauces, use it as a mashed potato substitute, use other spices and seasonings... the sky's the limit!
For more delicious ideas, check out this eGullet forum thread devoted entirely to roasted cauliflower (15 pages!). I first learned about it on there, and the kind posters have lots of helpful tips and great ideas. The gorgeous photo above was shamelessly stolen from Susan in FL's post on pg. 13.
Hope everyone is having a beautiful day!
* Yes, I know, it's "love", but for me, it is the same, no?