As much as I like cauliflower rice, making it is a chore. Shredding the cauliflower into rice results in tiny white pieces jumping around in my kitchen. I simply hate it. Therefore I am really glad that I found this recipe. It celebrates the cauliflower. We don’t turn it into faux-something. We honor it by treating it just like a sunday roast. And we get a lot in return: tender white flesh and a spicy bark. Try this one and thank me later, it will change your relationship to cauliflower forever.
Chantal bought a huge cauliflower on her way back from work. I guess it weighs at least two kilogram, it is snow white and perfectly fresh. There are many things you can do with cauliflower, but this beauty has to be treated well, so I decide to roast it.
- 1 whole cauliflower
- 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil of your choice
- spices like pepper, paprika, dried garlic/onion
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Remove the leaves and the stalk while keeping the cauliflower whole. Chop the leaves and stalk and put them on a roasting tray that fits the cauliflower head nicely. I use a Pyrex tray that is too small for pretty much everything else (except for brownies) but is perfect for this.
- Prepare the spice rub: I recommend getting a pestle and mortal for this. Start with whole pepper and salt and other whole spices like cumin and bay leaves. Smash it up, then add ground spices like dried garlic, onion and paprika. Stir everything through once again. Make sure you have enough spices, the cauliflower loves to be seasoned well and nobody likes bland veggies anyway.
- Put the spices in a bowl and add some olive oil or other cooking fat. Duck fat would be great here, which is just another excuse to roast a duck. You could also use butter or ghee, just let it melt in the microwave before you add the spices. Spread the oil and spice mixture all over the cauliflower. I use my hands for this. It is a little bit messy, but incredibly time efficient.
- Put the cauliflower head on top of the sliced cauliflower parts and cover with wet baking paper tightly. Roast in the oven for about two hours or until tender to the tip of a knife. Roasting time may vary depending on the size of the cauliflower.
Once the cauliflower is ready, I like to slice it up like you would do with a cake. Let it rest a little, it is extremely hot and steamy.
You could combine roasting a cauliflower like this with a traditional Sunday Roast. Just put it next to the meat, covered as described above, for the last two hours. Again, a roast duck would be a nice fit, as it incidentally needs exactly the same temperature and roasting time in the oven. Yes, I’m currently a little obsessed with my duck roast, it just was too good not to dream of it.
You can vary this recipe in many ways. The spices you use will take the cauliflower in any direction you want. I can see a great indian version with curcuma and nigella. Italian with garlic and rosemary. You could make a simple paste with mirin and miso for a japanese kick. The miso will caramelise and turn black, so don’t be afraid if the cauliflower looks like a meteroid as you remove it from the oven. Tomato paste would also be a nice fit for mediterrean spiced versions. Mustard for a “northern” touch. The juice of any citrus fruit will give a slight sweet and sour note and a hint of freshness.
By the way, raw cauliflower has only 25kcals per 100g and even the little added fat won’t make it that calorie dense, therefore it’s a great choice even if you are looking for some fat loss-friendly recipes.
Let me know down in the comments how you changed my recipe to fit your liking. I would also like to remember you that you can follow my blog via e-mail and get a notification whenever there is new content. No worries, I won’t spam and your e-mail is safe here :).
Stay strong and keep cooking!