Thursday, October 23, 2014

Parsley-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower


Stop. Everything. There is an awesome way to roast cauliflower that I need to make you aware of. Did you have any idea you could roast the WHOLE THING? Like the entire head of cauliflower? Well, I didn't--or at least, I did, but then I forgot. Like many a shiftless Pinterest user, I pinned something about this concept awhile back and then proceeded to not look at it for several months. Then for some reason tonight as I was contemplating how to make cauliflower to accompany a pork roast, that lovely image of a whole cauliflower roasted in all its cerebral-looking glory sprang back into my mind. Was it secretly difficult, I wondered? Was there some secret to why Western civilization has not evolved to cook cauliflower this way? Nope and nope (or I don't actually know about the second one. The Illuminati could have its reasons for keeping the general public away from whole roasted heads of cruciferous vegetables. They're weird like that.)

Roasting the entire head takes somewhat longer than roasting florets, and of course you don't get browning on as much surface area, but I'd say the interesting presentation makes up for those drawbacks. (Never thought you'd need a pie server to serve cauliflower, right?) Plus, even as a veggie caramelization devotee, I felt the flavor combination of parsley, parmesan, and mustard was a nice change from the near-blackened version I usually make.  With Halloween right around the corner, the only way I can think to improve it is to find some way to make it look even more like a brain. How's that for a healthy Halloween treat?


Parsley-Parmesan Whole Roasted Cauliflower
(Adapted from Food Network)

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Position an oven rack in the bottom of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

2. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower, then trim the stem so the cauliflower can sit flat. Place the head in a 9" round cake pan (or a roasting pan/cookie sheet--I just liked the way it fit so snugly in a round cake pan).

3. In a small bowl, mix olive oil and dijon mustard. Brush all around the outside of the cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Roast in the preheated oven until tender and browned, about 50 minutes.

5. Let the cauliflower sit for a few minutes. Mix dried parsley and Parmesan, then sprinkle to cover. Cut into wedges and serve.

Serves 5-6 as a side dish.

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