Roasted cauliflower

Early winter in Louisiana means my local farmer’s market is awash in huge heads of cauliflower and broccoli.  I happen to love cauliflower, but for some reason, it is the ugly stepsister of the Brassica oleracea clan.  This single plant species, cultivated since ancient times, is the source of broccoli, broccolo romano, broccoflower, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, collards, and Chinese broccoli.   Locally, white cauliflower is most common, but pale purple and light orange (Geaux Tigers!) are often available.  (Brown, yellow, and green cultivars also exist).

Steamed until tender, dressed with a big pat of salted butter, or raw-diced into a chopped salad, cauliflower’s mineral crunch is a good foil for roasted meats.  On the other hand, if  cauliflower reminds you of institutional dining and overcooked, sulfurous steam table cuisine, try this preparation method.

Roasted cauliflower

  • 2-3 lbs cauliflower, washed & cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced (not too thin)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • optional:  1/4 cup parmesan cheese (finely grated)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place cauliflower & sliced onion in a large mixing bowl.  Pour olive oil and garlic over the cauliflower and onion; toss to coat each floret with oil.  Spread onto a foil-lined sheet pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper flakes, and lemon juice.  Roast in oven, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and browned in spots.  If you like, sprinkle with parmesan cheese just before serving.

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