I think of cauliflower as a highly inoffensive vegetable. (Update: J takes offense at this description. He wants me to describe it as “a PERFECT vegetable.” Anyway.) It’s mildly flavored when cooked, and it’s not green. You can hide it in mac and cheese if you’re so inclined (or so I hear). Even avowed vegetable-haters should find nothing offensive about its sweet flavor or tender texture when roasted. And yet…my kids won’t touch it.
This recipe, which is for the grown-ups, hides nothing. In fact, it makes a whole head of cauliflower the proud center of a serving plate. It takes a while to cook but no time to prepare, which makes it a perfect side dish when company’s coming (we had it with The Best Red Lentil Soup of 2012 tonight).
Just a few things to keep in mind: try to core your cauliflower carefully, so that the entire head remains intact (I did not succeed at this). And if you’re like me, you’ll want to tear the leaves of the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, toss them with a bit of the oil and spice mixture, and roast them alongside the cauliflower until they are beautifully crisp. Cauliflower chips!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Spices (adapted from Everyday Maven): Wash and core a whole head of cauliflower, leaving the florets attached to each other (there are good step-by-step photos here). In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp. curry powder, ½ tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. turmeric and a pinch of cayenne. Rub the cauliflower evenly with olive oil and then the spice mixture, then bake at 450 for about 90 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender all the way through, turning the baking sheet halfway through cooking. (If you are making cauliflower chips, make sure to check them after 10 minutes and every few minutes after that.)