Cauliflower is having quite the resurgence these days, and I am totally down with the trend. Cauliflower’s lovely subtle flavour marries well with just about anything. It also takes well to many different cooking methods. And when they are in season, you can usually pick one up for about a buck. What’s not to like?
My favourite way to prepare it these days is roasted. Roasting really enhances the flavour by bringing out its nuttiness. And I’ve found a wonderfully simple recipe from Epicurious that lends itself perfectly to adaptations and variations.
For the simple version, all you need is a cauliflower, olive oil, a lemon, some parsley and salt. Heat the oven to 375º. Take your head of cauliflower and cut it into florets. Spread them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing once or twice, until they are slightly charred in a few spots. While it is roasting, combine the zest and juice from the lemon, 3-4 tbsp olive oil, 1/3 cup chopped parsley and 1/4 tsp salt in a large bowl. Once the cauliflower is ready, add it to the bowl and toss. Done. It can be served warm or at room temperature and is a wonderful recipe in and of itself.
But if you are like me and you’ve got the oven on and are putting a baking sheet in, don’t you just want to put more stuff to roast? That is what happened the past couple of times I have made this. Some garlic? Onion? Red pepper? Chick peas? Why not? Or you could try zucchini or eggplant or any number of other ideas…
This time around, I went for shallots, tomatoes and olives with a little sprinkle of Daniel Boulud’s spice mix from his chicken tajine recipe (https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016987-daniel-bouluds-chicken-tagine). I love having this mix in my spice cupboard. It is fabulous on chicken, works equally well on beef brochettes, and I have a feeling that lamb would be a good pairing as well (I need to try that next!). Here are the ingredients for the mix:
- 3 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ginger powder
- ½ tablespoon ground cardamom
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
But let’s get back to our cauliflower. After cutting it up and putting on the baking sheet I decided to add some thickly sliced shallots.
About half way through the cooking time (20 minutes), I felt that I wanted more flavor. I was going to serve this with some grilled chicken cutlets that would be seasoned with the aforementioned spice mix, so on went about 2 tbsp. of the mix. And after a quick look around the kitchen, I decided to add two tomatoes and a handful of Kalamata olives as well.
Everything roasted for another 20 minutes or so, and then I tossed it all with the lemon, parsley and olive oil. It went fabulously well with the chicken.
How do you like your cauliflower?