Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I'm baaaaaack! As you know, my last two months were spent writing, cooking, revising, cooking again, and photographing 80 recipes for Disney's Family.com. They were due Friday, and since then, I've been in a semi-comatose state, mumbling about lighting and internet connections, shrinking pie crusts and hot kitchens, camera batteries and dirty dishes. But today, I feel pretty good and I've finally got my appetite back after too much tasting and too much smelling of too much food. The market's offerings are returning to the realm of open possibilities, rather than obligations, and best of all, I can set aside the heavy cream and butter for awhile, and once again focus on seasonal produce and whole foods....like this lovely head of cauliflower.
Puffed up like a perfect cloud, it had not a blemish on it, and was impossible to resist, especially since I was reminded when I was reading this book how incredibly delectable roasted cauliflower is. In fact, most vegetables are better roasted...like broccoli, and brussels sprouts, and fennel, and onions, and asparagus...well, you get the idea. I think roasting brings out the very essence of the flavors, concentrating and polishing them, elevating them to the next level. All it takes is a hot oven, a splash of olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper.
I sliced the cauliflower into 1/2 inch slices. The ones in the middle near core held together the best with the edge pieces falling away into florets, but that honestly didn't matter one bit. Then I placed them (along with the crumbly bits) in a single layer on a roasting pan and gave them a good drizzle of olive oil and shower of salt and pepper. Roasting at high heat, left the cauliflower quite browned and caramelized (and also delicious, I might add).
The recipe doesn't end here, because onto these gloriously golden florets, I drizzled a spunky salsa verde, loaded with cilantro, jalapeno and lime. It's not enough to call it 'addictive.' It's sour, spicy, salty, nutty, tangy, sharp and rich all at once, and really, really impossible to put down your fork once you get a taste. I could eat a whole platter as a meal in itself (and I did), but you will find it compliments most foods well as a side dish.
Roasted Cauliflower with Salsa Verde
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Make salsa verde. Finely chop a handful of cilantro, and add one minced jalapeno (seeds and veins removed if desired), 2 sliced scallions, the zest and juice of one lime, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Give it a good pinch of salt too. Set aside. Slice a head of cauliflower into 1/4-1/2 inch slices. Space onto a baking sheet and drizzle evenly with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, flip over and repeat on the other side. Bake, flipping slices once halfway through, for about 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and tender. Remove from the oven and drizzle with salsa verde. Serve warm, or at room temperature.