Some recipes almost guarantee an automatic family response of “Win!” because of the ingredients they contain. Like butter. Or bacon.
There are, however, recipes that depend solely on technique for their victories. Roasted cauliflower is one of them.
Years ago, when Mr. Caffeinated first married me, he would not touch cauliflower. He hated the taste. He despised the texture. He called it ‘rabbit food’. He would not eat it raw, boiled, or steamed. I like cauliflower, so it made the occasional appearance at the table.
Then Cooks Illustrated published their Jan/Feb 2007 edition with an article entitled “How to Roast Cauliflower”, and things changed radically.
On my first attempt, I roasted half a head. I figured that I would be the only one eating it, and half a head seemed more than enough for little ol’ me. I believe I actually got about five bites before Mr. Caffeinated said “What’s that?”, speared a forkful, and proceeded to clean the plate.
The next week, I roasted a whole head. Surely that would be enough for us?
Nope. Mr. Caffeinated will eat an entire head himself, and growl at intruders.
Now I roast two heads, and we have enough for all five of us at dinner, plus leftovers for Mr. Caffeinated’s lunch the next day. For this miracle, I thank the Lord for Charles Kelsey, who developed the recipe, and hope that he’ll tackle either tomatoes or radishes sometime.
On to the dish:
First, preheat the oven to 400°.
Next, I clean and slice the cauliflower in ½” (or so) slices. I want lots of surface area.
These are arranged on a greased cookie sheet (I line it with foil) and sprayed with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and crimp shut.
Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then remove foil, and rotate: top to bottom, back to front.
Roast for 8-10 minutes, then turn each piece so that the other side roasts.
Continue to roast until they’re done to your satisfaction. We like them pretty crispy.
They’re also pretty good with cheese sauce.
As a side note – several years after I started using this recipe, Mr. Caffeinated spent an afternoon with his team from work and a chef, who taught them a few dishes from scratch to plate. This happened to be one of them. He told me later that all of his coworkers were amazed… except him. When they asked why he wasn’t bowled over with the chef’s virtuosity, he replied, “Oh… well, my wife cooks like this every night.”
I think I’ll keep him.