Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower. When most people hear that word, their brains (and tongues) shut down. Who cares about cauliflower? What's so great about it? Throw some ranch dressing on it as an appetizer, then make way for real food. Normally, I agree. Cauliflower just seems to lack a lot. It's light on flavor, calories and color. But, what you may not know is that cauliflower is not as blase as you once thought.

Magical things happen to this vegetable when it's roasted. You are merely one hour away from the best cauliflower you've ever had. Nothing watery and bland. How about sweet and addictive? Cut up your florets and toss them with some olive oil on a sheet pan. Sprinkle on a generous amount of salt, pepper, and whatever spices you want. I used herbs de Provence, but you could easily include some oregano, cayenne, or even curry powder if you are so inclined. Toss it all to make sure it is coated evenly. Then throw the tray into a 400 degree oven for 1 hour to 1 hour, 30 minutes. Be sure to stir it every 20 minutes or so. You are looking for the cauliflower to be browned nicely with most of the moisture gone. Let the cauliflower cool and eat...and eat and eat and eat. I used two heads of cauliflower on the above tray and the resulting roasted florets fit easily in a small casserole dish. I could eat it all too. The roasting brings out the sweeter qualities of this veggie. Roasting leaves behind more concentrated flavors, both from the spices as well as from the cauliflower itself. I'm half tempted to serve it en lieu of popcorn at my next movie night.

But cauliflower is not done with you yet. There's more...

Surprise! Purple cauliflower! I saw it in the store the other day and just had to give it a try. It tastes exactly the same as normal cauliflower, but it just has a purply-blue hue. Now we've solved all of cauliflower's problems. Low on calories is never a problem. By roasting it, it now has some awesome flavor. And with the advent of a purple varietal, the color can finally stand out in pastas, salads or even just on your plate. So please, give this mistreated and misjudged vegetable a second chance.

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