Why so good?

August 17, 2009

Before

Before

After

After

There are million fruits and vegetables in season right now. Including the wallflower that is cauliflower. It’s hardly an eye-catching vegetable, dressed in homely drab-green leaves that modestly cover pale, thick florets. Some others might catch your eye as you whirl through the market – sweet berries, snaky purple beans, tart cherries, demure and blushing peaches, and lush lettuces – but do put cauliflower on your dance card shopping list. Something amazing happens when you turn up the heat and give this little white flower a drink of extra-virgin olive oil and a generous shot of salt.

Makes: enough for 4 for a side dish. Or use it as a garnish if you eat almost all of it before your guests arrive. I’m just saying. It could happen.

1 head of cauliflower

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Pre-heat your oven to 500º – somewhat shockingly high heat, isn’t it? As I said, you want to really heat things up. Cut up your snowy cauliflower into little florets. Toss with the olive oil and salt and spread out into a single layer on a parchment-lined pan. Slide this into your hot hot oven on the middle rack. As it’s roasting/frying/baking you will hear it snap, crackle and pop. This is good. About ten minutes in, pull out your tray and move the cauliflower about. Return to oven and repeat two more times. I roasted my cauliflower for about 40 minutes, total. You could roast yours a little less, or be bold and push it a little longer for a more sizzled, roastier and nuttier cauliflower, but don’t go anywhere – it’s a fine line between crisp deliciousness and charred too-late-you-can’t-eat-that-now. So let’s say your cauliflower is done. Taste it. Why so good? What happens in that oven? Some kind of crazy chemical romance goes on and suddenly this cauliflower is the most delicious vegetable you’ve ever had in your whole life. It’s kind of like an extreme makeover. It pays to have a hot, salty tango with a wallflower.

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4 Responses to “Why so good?”

  1. katie huitson said

    crazy chemical romance indeed! Some of your best writing miss….love it!! And obviously yes, cauliflower cooked in that way has some kind of crack like properties….I put lemon rind and garlic in with mine at the very last second…drooool.

  2. Julie said

    I am a big fan of cauliflower and this is definitely one of my favourite ways to devour it. I have also tried blending it after roasting: a great substitute for mashed potatoes.

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