The best method for roasting cauliflower that will result in slightly caramelized, soft, irresistible results every time.
My dear dressed-up cabbage flaunting your best Sunday attire,
How do I love you, little cauliflower? Oh, there are many, many ways: I love you for your delicious, crumbly gratins baked for an hour in the oven on Friday evenings; I love your Monday night soups quickly whirled together and seasoned with mushrooms and herbs de Provence; I love your lazy Sunday afternoon curries served with coconut rice. But I think best of all I love you slow-roasted at 375 degrees for about a half-an-hour.
[See: the two times in the past week I’ve roasted two fine specimens while lingering impatiently outside the oven door, wrenching it open every so often to give the pan a good shake.]
But who are you, really? Mark Twain wrote that you are “nothing but cabbage with a college education” and if so, I think we may have rubbed shoulders at a public university. In other ways we are similar: originally from the Mediterranean, high in vitamin C, unpretentious, and liking simple things such as olive oil and sea salt. Oh roasting cauliflower, you’re my favorite.
Wikipedia tells me you are a variety (Botrytis Group) of Brassica oleracea in the family Brassicaceae. An annual plant, you reproduce by seeds. Your colors can range from green (in the B. oleracea Botrytis group) to orange, to purple, which has roots in Southern Italy. You are low in fat, high in fiber, folate, water and vitamin C. You arrive to our local markets in October and may have origins in Cyprus — certainly you are from the Mediterranean, which thus explains my passion for you (as I love all things related to that region).
My new favorite thing is roasting cauliflower. I’ll find an organic, healthy-looking blossom and, after washing, cut it into smallish pieces and coat it with olive oil and salt. I then roast it until easily pierced with a fork, and when it’s alternately soft and crispy with good blackened bits along the sides of the pan, I pick at it gingerly with a spoon while hovering over the pan waiting for it to cool. There is not much more to say than: dearest cauliflower, can’t you be in season all the year-long?
The other night I married this with my other love, roasted asparagus, and an herb-y risotto, and green beans.
- 1 head cauliflower ,green leaves discarded, washed and cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375℉ and have a large baking pan or sheet ready. Place the cauliflower in a bowl and liberally coat it with olive oil and salt. Spread the cauliflower in the pan and roast for about a half-hour, checking every so often to stir.
- Roast until cauliflower is soft and melty (and a little crispy, if you like), about 45 minutes.