Sunday, February 26, 2012

(Whole) Roasted Cauliflower

The inspiration for this recipe came from an Eating Well recipe for the cauliflower, but prepared in the microwave. It would probably turn out fine that way but I know for a fact that the cauliflower we recently got from the CSA wouldn't have fit in my microwave(!) and for that reason (its outrageous size), I thought this recipe might just work fine in the oven. I was right, it was yummy and I suspect even better than the microwave version, although it took quite a bit longer to cook. The nice thing with either approach is that you can use just about any flavor profile you desire, and once you get the mixture stirred up and slathered on the vegetable, you are done! If roasting a whole head of cauliflower for an hour or more just isn't your thing, I suspect the same idea could be applied to small florets--tossed to coat with the mixture--and the result would be just as good!

1 head cauliflower
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs prepared mustard (Dijon or other preferred variety)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed

Note: These amounts depend on the size of cauliflower head you have and your overall preference--if it's relatively small (<6 inches) you could probably halve the amounts; or if you have leftover, you can always use it as an alternative sandwich spread, etc.

As I mentioned, almost any flavorings can be used to suit your preference/pantry, such as:
  • Curry powder/paste
  • Salsa or green chiles
  • Any type of fresh or dried herbs
  • Miso
  • Garlic
  • Pesto
  • Cajun
  • Lemon-pepper
  • Etc. Etc. Etc...
Simply stir the desired seasonings into the mayonnaise and spread it all over the outside of the cauliflower. The thickness of the coating will be dependent on your quantities--it doesn't have to be terribly thick, or completely coated--the mayonnaise essentially melts into the cauliflower to varying degrees. It is easiest to place the cauliflower into the dutch oven (or microwave-safe bowl) first and then coat with mayonnaise. Cover and cook at 400 degrees (check your pot's max oven temperature if necessary first!) for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on the size of the vegetable and desired done-ness. I cooked mine (about 8 inch head) for about 50 minutes covered and then removed the lid for the last 10 minutes of cooking to help caramelize the coating just a bit. Serving was the trickiest part of this easy-to-prepare dish. We served it straight out of the pan after slicing the cauliflower with a long, sharp knife and removed the pieces with a fork.