Some time ago, I found a recipe to curry and roast a whole head of cauliflower. I have been dying to try it, even though Saul doesn’t like cauliflower, and this week a head of cauliflower came in the CSA box!
I forgot to take a picture entirely, but the final thing looked a lot like this:
The picture is a link, btw, to the Paleo recipe I used as a guideline.
What happened was, when I found the recipe to curry and roast a whole head of cauliflower, I forgot to save it. So I spent quite a bit of time trying to find it. I gave up when I was reading a recipe in which the author pointed out that roasting the whole head made an amazing presentation, but breaking it up meant more surfaces got brown and crispy. That sounded like a good idea to me, so I went with it.
In a largish bowl I made a sauce, with about half a cup of mayo, some Dijon mustard, rather a lot of curry powder, a couple tablespoons of lime juice, a tablespoon or two of sesame oil, some salt and pepper, cumin, Mexican-style chili powder, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. I let it all soak together in the refrigerator for an hour or two. In the meantime, I peeled the leaves off the cauliflower, cut out the stem, and broke it apart into florets of more or less the same size. I was aiming for one bite per floret. The stems should be cut away as much as possible without causing the floret to fall apart.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Yes, quite hot.
I Poured the florets into the bowl with the sauce and stirred ’em around until they were as evenly coasted as you can manage. Then I dumped them in an 8×8 glass pan and roasted them, uncovered, until they were tender. I think it took about 20 or 30 minutes, but I don’t honestly remember exactly.
You could do this with the whole head if you wanted to have a more impressive presentation, or if this were the centerpiece of a vegetarian meal. Remove the leaves and as much of the center stem as possible, slather it with the sauce, and bake it until a paring knife slides in with little or no resistance. Don’t overcook, as it will fall apart!
I made curried beef and rice to go with this, but they were just okay. The cauliflower was the remarkable part, and the star of the show in my opinion.
TIP: Cauliflower has a bad rep for being stinky, and for making the house stink while it cooks. In fact, OLD cauliflower is stinky. Fresh cauliflower is perfectly creamy white, and the florets should be dense and so closely packed that they do not move or separate when you run your finger over them. It should have no signs of yellowing or browning. The leaves should be curled tightly over the head, and when you smell it, it should smell fresh. If it is at all stinky, put it down and choose another!
Cauliflower has a high nutritional density and vitamin C, but is low in fat and carbohydrates. It contains several compounds believed to combat cancer and improve DNA repair, which are reduced when the vegetable is boiled but are not affected by other cooking methods.