Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Call of the Cauliflower, Part 1: Roasted Florets

Ok all you haters out there - prepare to open your minds. I want no pre-conceived notions, no "I don't like it" click-throughs, no stink-face, simply because we're talking about cauliflower here. Ima make a believer out of you. If you just trust me as the cauliflower champion that I am, you will walk away from reading these next couple of blog posts not only wanting to give cauliflower a chance, but actually learning to LOVE it. Yes, I said love. (You - the group over there in the corner? The cauliflower nerds who love it just as much as I? Chime in any time.... let's form an advocacy group!)

Ah, cauliflower. Such a maligned vegetable, for absolutely no good reason. I happen to love it raw and crunchy, plain as the day is long. Or steamed, with a little pat of butter and a sprinkling of salt. But since those are both the primary ways people are accustomed to seeing cauliflower served, they are also the preparations folks have learned to hate. So I'll just pass them right on by and not even try and persuade you.

The next logical option would be to espouse the virtues of baked cauliflower drenched in cream and cheese, such as a decadent gratin. But I won't go there either, because even though I love a cheesy dish probably more than anyone, I'm avoiding the calorie-laden, heavy, hearty, artery-clogging dishes that decimate all health benefits of eating cauliflower in the first place.

The fact is, there are so many more exciting and innovative ways to use cauliflower that are fresh, flavorful and healthy, that it's criminal to dismiss it just out of hand. So let's dive in and explore a couple of options, shall we?

First up: Roasting. This couldn't be any simpler to prepare, and the result of roasting cauliflower under high heat is transformative. Utterly delicious. The way I make it, the little cauliflower kernels come out bursting with flavor, and tasting like those great crunchy bits that we all like to fight over on any baked dish.

Again, no recipe, just a method:
  • Break up the cauliflower head into tiny florets - like popcorn size
  • Toss with a glug of olive oil - enough for a light coating
  • Add the juice of one fresh-squeezed lemon
  • Season with garlic salt and chili powder
  • Spread on a baking sheet in one even layer
  • Roast in a 400-degree oven, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is nicely browned and crispy on the edges
Nothing else to it, and it's fabulous. I swear.


  1. Mmm, it really is fabulous!! Roasted cauliflower is a completely different thing than plain raw cauliflower!