It feels like we're the last to know about how to make cauliflower taste good. I learned about it this summer from a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe, but further research revealed that the topic has been gaining critical mass for some time.

The concept is simple: cut the cauliflower into 1/4-inch slices. This thickness seems to allow the stems to cook at about the same rate as the florets. And then cover the whole mess with the best olive oil you've got. Roast it in the oven for 40 minutes at 200C, keeping an eye on it to make sure that it doesn't overbrown. You could also just turn it over every 10 minutes or so if you don't mind hanging out by the stove.

What you end up with is something that is nutty and sweet that most people would never guess was cauliflower. The extra good news is that the recipe readily accepts elaborations: using butter instead of olive oil; adding cumin or rosemary; pine nuts and capers, etc.

Below is my adaptation of the initial recipe that got me hooked on this preparation method, but it's also great without the caper-raisin sauce.


roasted cauliflower with capers and raisins.

1/3 cup capers, drained + 1 tbsp of their liquid
1/3 cup raisins, preferably golden
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. butter
nutmeg for grating
ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 head's worth of cauliflower florets, stems cut longways into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil

Place cauliflower in a roasting pan and coat with olive oil. Place in a 200C oven for 40 minutes, checking every 10 minutes or so to prevent overbrowning. Meanwhile, combine capers, raisins, butter, and water in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool and then zshoom it up in a food processor.

Reheat the sauce, then add the nutmeg, vinegar, pepper and salt if needed. Serve cauliflower with a dollop of the sauce onto 4 plates. Finish with a tiny grating of nutmeg.

UPDATE: Apparently I've incorrectly transcribed one or more improvisatory elements of this recipe...tried it according to this recipe last night and it had lost something. Will try to fix soon.


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