Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cauliflower – My Vegetable Epiphany

My daily diet relies heavily on fruit, vegetables and pulses (oh, and I confess, wine!) and very happy I am with that indeed.  Nothing gives me greater pleasure than a pile of crisp radishes with salt and capers, a chickpea and spinach stew or an aromatic and warming dhal.  Vegetables and I enjoy a happy friendship.  I have even managed to overcome my childhood fear of the broad bean (curse those frozen vegetable mixes and thank goodness for my long suffering father who turned a blind eye to his three daughters picking them out and piling them on his plate before our mother noticed).  And yet there is one vegetable from which I have shied and, before a fortnight ago, had never purchased in my adult life.  The cauliflower.

Why?  Now that’s an interesting question and I’m not quite sure why.  Perhaps I associate it heavily with cauliflower cheese – which obviously is never going to pass the lips (or hips) of this cow’s dairy intolerant (and weight conscious) cook.  Yet a recent salad box from Whole Foods tickled my tastebuds with the joys that this bland, white veg can hold with their curried florets.  Could I recreate something similar at home I wondered?  I made up the following recipe which, I have to say, is rather delicious, either alone or alongside a silky bowl of dhal.  I made the recipe up by slinging ingredients together so forgive the rather vague quantities and adapt to your own taste.

Roasted Fragrant Cauliflower
(serves 3-4 as a side dish)
1 large head of cauliflower, outer leaves and stem removed, divide into florets
½ head of garlic, divided into individual cloves but left in their papery skins
1 lemon
2-3 tbsp olive oil
½ - 1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 180C
Pop the cauliflower florets and garlic cloves into a large roasting dish (ensure that the dish is large enough for them to sit in one layer)
Zest the lemon over the cauliflower, juice the lemon and pour over the veg. 
Pour in the oil, throw in the spices and mix well to coat everything with the pungent covering.
Throw in the lemon halves if you like roasted lemons.
Put in the middle of a preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, tossing half way through.

Next time I may toast some almond slices and toss them in before serving and perhaps some flat-leaf parsley.  

1 comment:

Peter Newman-Legros said...

definitely going to try this as I really like chou fleur. Made a pasta dish involving cauliflower garlic and marjoram last week.