Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


If you want to test your Significant Other’s resolve, give her a bouquet... of cauliflowers.

Ahh, cauliflower. Examined up close, it looks more like Donovan’s Brain than any sort of flower. If you had a pocketful of these posies, you’d have trouble walking. On the Vegetables-Kids-Hate-O-Meter, cauliflower no doubt pegs the needle, right along with spinach and the Dreaded Broccoli.

Me, I like cauliflower. It’s all in how you prepare it, you see.

Used to be, the standard way of cooking cauliflower was to boil the crap out of it. Once you had reduced it to mush, you would bury it under a pile of Hollandaise or cheese sauce to disguise its almost total absence of flavor. Feh.

Or you could serve the flowerets raw, with a tub of dip - the standard Lipton onion soup mix and sour cream concoction. Not bad, actually... but in no wise truly delicious.

I’ve discovered that cauliflower takes to oven-roasting very nicely, much like Brussels sprouts and root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and beets. It’s simple enough. You core out a head of cauliflower and break it up into flowerets of more-or-less uniform size. Place ’em in a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, season with a bit of kosher salt, and throw in a few cloves of garlic, well-minced, and a tablespoon or two of capers.

Roasted Cauliflower

Roast the cauliflower for about half an hour or so at 325°F, by which time it should be tender; then crank the heat up to 425°F for 5-10 minutes, enough to lightly brown the vegetable. You want to get some caramelization, but you don’t want to end up with a bunch of dried cinders - keep an eye on it and take it out if it starts looking too toasty.

The recipe is based on one I saw over at Joy the Baker. I used olive oil in lieu of the butter and omitted the red pepper flakes, lemon, and parsley... but those ingredients are fine, too. Throw ’em in if you care to.

Roasting cauliflower brings out its subtle, nutty flavor, which plays beautifully against the garlic’s aromatic warmth and the capers’ sharpness. It will change the way you look at this Flower of Childhood Loathing. Hollandaise? Pfaugh!

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