When it comes to vegetables, many people consider the humble cauliflower as a lowly second choice…or worse, don’t even consider it at all. My hope is to elevate this truly down-to-earth member of the Brassica family to a spot worthy of even the most extravagant dinner table.
Rich cauliflower soup serves as a fitting first course at any fancy feast, yet would also fare nicely served in stout coffee mugs at a casual open house. Cauliflower florets, chopped finely to represent grains of rice or even couscous, are fit for any dish calling for pasta or rice – I love Elise Bauer’s version on Simply Recipes. But to really see cauliflower shine as a vegetable star, take a couple of heads, roast them until they are golden brown and watch the flavor intensify from what you would find on a raw crudités platter to something rich, nutty and almost meaty – and as an added plus, this transformation occurs in mere minutes and without an army of ingredients or techniques.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds cauliflower (2 good sized heads), cut into florets
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces sourdough bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup pitted green olives
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Red Wine Jar Vinaigrette (See recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 350º. Place the oil, cauliflower, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to coat. Place in a baking dish and roast for 15 minutes. Add the bread and roast for a further 10–12 minutes or until the bread is golden and crispy.
- To serve, place the cauliflower, bread, hazelnuts, olives, feta and parsley in a bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to combine. Serves 4.