Chat Leftovers: Cauliflower Can Take the Heat
Did you know that just by asking a great question during the Food section's weekly Free Range chat, you can become the proud winner of a fab new cookbook? That's just one of the benefits of joining us every Wednesday from 1 to 2 p.m., when we field queries, toss out information, bat around ideas and try to hit a home run. Come to think of it, our percentages may be better than the Nats'.
Despite our best efforts, we can never manage to answer every question during the hour. Here's one we couldn't get to last week:
Cauliflower: I recently tried baking cauliflower and it was . . . not good. Should it be parboiled first or something? I used a low temp and tested it every 20 minutes or so until it was soft, but it took forever and was close to tasteless.
You had the right idea when you decided to put cauliflower in the oven. But you misfired on one detail: What you want is high heat, not low heat, so the cauliflower roasts to a soft consistency with a sweet, nutty flavor.
You can roast a head of cauliflower whole, and it looks very cool presented at the table that way, maybe surrounded by a garnish or by a ring of other roasted vegetables. I promise you, it's really delicious. Here's how to do it:
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees. Start with a medium cauliflower, about 2 1/2 pounds. Remove the leaves and the stem, but take care to keep the head intact so the individual florets don't detach. Flip over the head and carefully cut out some of the core. At this point the head will weigh about 1 1/2 pounds.
Place the cauliflower in an 8- or 9-inch cake or pie pan and rub it all over with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then sprinkle the cauliflower with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Roast for about 75 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and has browned on the outside. (Check after 60 minutes. If the cauliflower looks like it might burn, reduce the heat to 425 degrees.)
That's all there is to it. When the cauliflower comes out, it's ready to be drizzled with whatever you choose. I like plain melted butter, melted brown butter or a mixture of 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts olive oil.
Try it! You'll like it.
If anyone else out there has a great recipe for baked/roasted cauliflower, join today's chat and pitch in.
– Jane Touzalin
September 30, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Recipes | Tags: Free Range, Jane Touzalin
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