Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Roasted Whole Cauliflower

I had this a really long time ago at my Mother-in-law's house. She had company over and they ate dinner - and we straggled in later and started snacking on her dinner leftovers in the kitchen. 

She had roasted a whole cauliflower and I just kept snacking on it and snacking on it - it was So Delicious and I could not figure out what she had done to it. (her's wasn't browned)

Later I asked her what she had done and she told me she just roasted it - It was so simple and yet so amazing. The things roasting does to vegetables just blows my mind. 

This did take me a couple of tries, One... It got eaten before I got any photos, then I left it in the oven to stay warm, forgot about it, and then 6 hours later it was burnt to a crisp. 

It has taken me a few tries to get it "done" just perfectly. I did feel like I under-cooked it once, (because I was terrified of burning it again), but that just means it was crisper than I would have liked it to be - "raw" vegetables aren't bad, it just wasn't what I was looking for.

So don't cook this for the first time for a dinner party - unless you are super brave and don't care if it doesn't turn out exactly how you want it.  Take a couple of test runs and get the feel for the recipe. 

The first thing you are going to want to do is wash your head of cauliflower really well. Since you aren't going to be breaking apart the florets you'll want to make sure you rinse the head really well and get the dirty out of all the little cracks. 

Turn it over and cut out as much of the core as you can. You also want to trim the head on the bottom so that it sits flat in your pan and doesn't roll around. 

Then you are going to want to dry it really well (if you are going to be roasting it straight from this point) if you are.... advance to **

If you have a really big head of cauliflower or you want it cooked past al dente' and want a softer finished dish, you'll want to steam it first. 

I prefer to steam mine first, but just for a little bit.  I put it in a microwave safe casserole dish with just a trace of water in the bottom of the dish (or none if you left yours really wet). Then cover it with plastic wrap or the lid if you are using a deep dish and steam it for 5-10 minutes.

When you feel like it is about 1/2 way cooked, go ahead and pull it out of the microwave. It is going to be hot, so I used two giant meat forks, but you can use bit slotted spoons or one of mesh strainer spoons.  The cauliflower should still be really firm so it should be easy to lift and not too floppy.

** Transfer your cauliflower to a lined baking sheet. I had to put mine on a cookie sheet with an edge because it was so large, but you could also put it into a 9x13 pan or a jelly roll pan. I also lined the pan with foil because of the caramelization that happens and I hate scrubbing pans. 

At this point, I went super super simple and took a cut garlic glove and rubbed the whole outside, then drizzled it with some olive oil and called it good.

You can get as fancy as you want with spices and herbs and marinades, but give it a try just plain first.

Put into a 425 degree oven and Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.

I just serve it on a plate like this - and then cut it into wedges to serve.