Thursday, March 28, 2013


Well, we survived—and even enjoyed—the soup, so it was time to be brave and give cauliflower a shot in its natural form. Just after I made this momentous decision, I picked up a copy of Bon Appetit in the waiting room of my dentist’s office and voila! There was a gorgeous photo of some caramelized cauliflower, adorned with onions and thyme. When I read the barely-even-a-recipe paragraph-long description and realized there was cheese involved as well, it took all my good citizen instincts to restrain me from tearing out the page right then and there. (Instead, I very considerately and sensibly jotted down a note to myself to look up the recipe online when I got home.)

This is not only a cinch to make, but it’s also just as delicious as it looks. I used some beautiful orange cauliflower because I couldn’t resist it at the farmers’ market (doesn’t it look like it should be cheddar-flavored?) but otherwise followed directions exactly. As with most vegetables, roasting does magical things to cauliflower, and of course the sweet onion, pungent garlic, earthy thyme, and salty cheese make everything even better. My only complaint was that after a couple of bites, it seemed to cry out for a little acid to perk it up and balance out all the nutty, bitter notes. I didn’t actually give this a try, afraid of ruining things, and we happily made short work of all our cauliflower just as it was, but next time I’d like to try a roasted cauliflower recipe that includes lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, just to see how that goes. (The longer I’ve been cooking, the more I’ve noticed that I’m a bit of a tartness junkie. Tastes a bit bland? Add acid!) Regardless, this is a stellar recipe, especially if, like me, you’re a cauliflower skeptic.

1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 medium unpeeled garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup grated Parmesan
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. On a large rimmed baking sheet (coated with parchment if desired), toss cauliflower, onion, thyme, garlic, and olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan, toss to combine, and roast until cauliflower is tender and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes longer. (The original recipe neglects to say what to do with the garlic, but I just peeled it after roasting and put one clove in each serving.)
Serves: 4
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: OK.

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