Breaking apart all those hard little white florets can be a messy and time-consuming business, and I know that the contemplation of this activity has made me hesitate to purchase a cauliflower on more than one occasion.
On the other hand, another option you may not have considered is to cook your gorgeous, fresh cauliflower in one piece. Without a doubt, roasting and serving a cauliflower whole makes an impressive presentation!
This a memorable main dish (I’m thinking Thanksgiving for beloved vegetarians) but it’s also perfect with a caesar salad and a tray of chicken drumsticks, pot of turkey meatballs, or plate of fresh grilled trout.
I am inspired by the Farm to Table symposium held earlier this month in New Orleans. It brought together chefs, farmers and food lovers everywhere to share their wares and ideas, like this beauty:
1 whole clean cauliflower
1/2 c. white wine
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (approx 1/4 c.)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 c. nutritional yeast [vegan option] OR 1/3 c. freshly grated Parmigiana cheese
Trim away green leaves and remove stem from cauliflower. Place the cauliflower, garlic, and salt in a pot a little bigger than the cauliflower, and add just enough water to cover the cauliflower halfway up the sides. Add the wine, 4 Tbsp. olive oil, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. This part of the recipe can be done a day or two in advance if you like.
Heat oven to 450 F. Drain cauliflower, place on pie plate or oven-friendly serving dish, and rub with balsamic vinegar plus remaining olive oil and salt. Roast 30-40 min. until beautifully brown all over. Sprinkle with parsley and nutritional yeast or grated parmigiana cheese, and serve with a knife and spatula. Serves 4-8.