Cauliflower isn’t badass like Serrano peppers, who pack searing heat into long slender bodies. It’s not a vixen like salt, completely dominating dishes if mishandled, not letting other ingredients get a word in edgewise. Nope. Nor a superhero like quinoa, able to leap over tall lists of diseases in a single bound. Cauliflower is laid back mellow.
Or so I thought.
Then I started roasting it whole. Suddenly this unassuming white lump morphed into a badass biker chick. Crispy florets, slightly charred, staked out new territory with sinewy limbs loaded with concentrated flavor. And it was so easy. I just cut the head into quarters, oiled them up, and threw on some spices. Need something even easier? Just shake a flurry of salt and pepper over their oiled bodies. Whatever. Just be sure to roast them at a high heat for a long time. You won’t be sorry.
For this recipe, I paired them with breadcrumbs using Quinoa Crispies, capers, kalamata olives, and a few slivers of preserved lemon, then added a soft-boiled egg for a great vegetarian entrée. If that’s too complicated for a busy weeknight, make the breadcrumbs ahead and keep them in the refrigerator. Then all you need do is toss a quick salad, boil some water for the egg, and wait for a rock star cauliflower to emerge from the heat of the oven.
Tips for the Omnivore – Vegetarian Table:
Lemon roasted chicken is your best friend with this dish!
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2 lb.)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 4 pitted kalamata olives, quartered
- 1 tablespoon drained capers
- 6 sliced slivers preserved lemon
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Quinoa Crispies
- 2 tablespoon chopped mint
- 2 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a pie plate or baking dish with foil or parchment paper.
- Cut away all leaves on the cauliflower, and core, leaving the head intact. Quarter the head using a sharp knife. Discard leaves and core, and arrange the cauliflower pieces in the lined baking pan. Drizzle olive oil over the cauliflower and rub, using your hands, to completely coat in oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until caramelized, about 30 - 40 minutes. Add the olives, capers, and preserved lemon and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Add the breadcrumbs and Quinoa Crispies and sauté until toasted, about 10 minutes. Add a little oil if too dry.
- Toss in mint, parsley, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning if needed.
- Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with water by 1 - 2 inches. Bring to a simmer and maintain a slow simmer for 4 minutes. Run the eggs under cold water, peel, and slice.