I’ve never been a particularly big fan of cauliflower, barely even a passing one. It was always broccoli’s pale cousin to me, and I wasn’t a big fan of broccoli for a while, either. As I’ve gotten older one thing has become apparent to me in my cooking adventures – there’s just about always a way to make any vegetable out there appealing. This recipe is testament to this fact. Also, it came from Ina Garten’s cookbook, How Easy is That?, which I just recently purchased.
Easy? Indeed, Ina. Indeed. And wonderful.
So you start off with, what else – cauliflower. Denude the entire head of its few leaves and cut it into large florets. Cutting up this stuff is rather messy. Hopefully you’ve got a dog or something that loves licking anything off the floor. We have two. They just cannot be stopped completely, I’ve tried.
Onto a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with ye old olive oil and some garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Your oven is already hotter than the noon desert sun in a hopeless Western town. As in ready to roast.
While the florets are roasting, assemble the ingredients that will become a dressing of sorts: toasted almonds (original called for pine nuts), fresh minced parsley (more worth it than you might think), lemon juice and some more olive oil and salt.
Shazam! You’ve roasted the cauliflower. If you’re me, you roasted the living mess right out of it. I may have done so a little too long for some, but I tend to like roasted or grilled foods a little on the charred/darker/well-done side. Unless it’s a steak, but that’s another story.
This was once a humble vegetable, a little pale, more than a little hard yet flimsy at the same time, probably a bit bland. OK, a lot bland. Blandville Central. But no more! The roasting gives it a unique flavor and turns a weirdly textured veggie into a tender delight. That’s right, I said tender delight. The olive oil and lemon juice and a pinch more salt combine the almonds, parsley and garlic with it to create something my taste buds definitely appreciated. Hubby, who is no fan of cauliflower either more than liked it. I plead the fifth on the six-year-old. Still, we count this one a big success. Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 35 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 4
- 1 whole head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
- 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
- 4 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, peel, and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.
On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing twice, until the cauliflower is tender and the garlic is lightly browned.
While the cauliflower is roasting, heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Toast the almond slivers until lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Set aside.
Scrape the cauliflower into a large bowl with the garlic and pan juices (if any). Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the parsley, almonds, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon of salt, toss well and serve warm.
The only thing I did differently was to substitute the original pine nuts called for with the almonds. Pine nuts can be expensive and I already had the almonds. Turns out they were a perfect substitute. Can’t eat nuts? No worries. You won’t miss them by leaving them out.
I would say this recipe was very easy. Even with the extra time of taking pictures it only took me about an hour. Sans picture-taking, you’re looking at a tasty weeknight veggie option that would go well with just about anything and is healthy, too. I’m glad I now have more tasty reasons to pick up cauliflower for dinner.