Cauliflower is a common choice on salad bars, vegetable trays, or smothered in cheese sauce because of its milky-sweet, mild flavor. Nutritionally dense, it is high in dietary fiber, folate, Vitamin C, and phytochemicals, providing the nutritional boost we all need at dinnertime. Roasting this cruciferous gem brings out its nutty flavor, complementing any menu.
Although cauliflower is most widely known for its creamy-white curd (head), in larger markets it is available in bouquets of orange, green (referred to as broccoflower), and purple. These varieties have an even greater nutritional value, including Vitamin A and antioxidants.
Trying cauliflower types that are colorful may be more appealing to children. According to a USA Today article, the food industry is using color to sell to our kids in the form of purple ketchup, blue mac & cheese, and pink margarine. It’s best to forgo the food coloring additives, but we can take a hint from this marketing strategy and choose interesting colors for their vegetables instead.
Garlic accompanies this roasted cauliflower recipe, nestled inside the florets, enhancing its naturally earthy flavor. Serve as a side dish with grilled or pan-seared meats.
Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
1 medium cauliflower head (about 2 pounds)
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450°. Trim outer leaves of cauliflower and cut stem so that it is 1-inch bellow the bottom of the head. (The leaves can be saved and added to soups or stocks.) Cut head, pole to pole (down through the stem), into 8 wedges so that the florets remain attached to the stem.
2. Dip peeled garlic cloves into the olive oil and then wedge cloves into spaces between cauliflower florets. Using a pastry brush, brush the cauliflower wedges with olive oil all over.
3. Place cauliflower wedges, cut-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to roast until bottoms of cauliflower pieces are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully flip wedges with tongs or a spatula. Brush lightly with oil and return to the oven and continue to roast until cauliflower is golden all over, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and serve immediately.
If you are feeling adventurous, sprinkle a little bit of curry or chili powder over the florets after brushing with oil. Leftover cauliflower can be added to a stir-fry, puréed for soups, or chopped to serve as a baked potato topper.
Note: Do not cook cauliflower in an aluminum or iron pot. Cauliflower will react with the aluminum and turn the vegetable yellow. In an iron pot, it will turn a brown or blue-green color.
white cauliflower image source: http://etbe.coker.com.au/
orange cauliflower image source: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/jul99/cauliflower-i.jpg
purple cauliflower image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Cacophony
green cauliflower image source: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/5aday/images/cauliflower_broccoflower.jpg