Roasted cauliflower recruits converts to this vegetable.
If you’re someone who’d rather ask for directions than eat cauliflower, read on. R.B. was one of those guys until he put a cauliflower foil packet on the grill. And another time it went in the oven. Either way, it’s a smash. Roasting cauliflower in a waterless foil packet transforms its otherwise watery, bland character into nutty, browned richness. So rich it must be fattening, but it’s really not. A sealed foil pouch traps the vegetable’s own juices and the little bit of added fat, olive oil and/or butter, browns the florets and gives them a sautéed feel. Roast your cauliflower by itself a few times, then add some baked potato-style extras like bacon and shredded cheese (check out the variations below). It tastes great when cooked really soft and nicely browned, not crisp tender. Serve it instead of potatoes with grilled steak, lamb, pork chops, or roast chicken.
Makes 4 servings
1 head of cauliflower
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
Other optional ingredients in variations below Wash and core cauliflower and divide into florets.
On the grill: Arrange the cauliflower on a big (18” x 24”) piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (or double-up regular foil). When in doubt, use extra foil. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring up the foil sides and double the fold, then double fold packet ends. A tight seal is critical so you can flip it for even cooking and browning. Cook for 10 minutes over medium high heat in a covered grill. Flip the packet and cook 10 minutes. Flip again so the sealed side is on top and cook 10 more minutes. When it’s done, you’ll smell its aroma. Pierce foil with knife or fork to test for tenderness or carefully open packet (beware of hot escaping steam). In the Oven: Heat the oven to 450° F. Arrange the cauliflower in a 9 x 13 pan or in a foil roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with foil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and shake the pan around to loosen the cauliflower. Roast an additional 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done by its aroma. If you can’t trust your nose, go ahead, stick a fork in there.
A few variations on our theme here:
Garlic Parmesan. Reduce olive oil to 1 tablespoon and add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 chopped fresh garlic clove in packet before cooking. After cooking, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley.
Bacon Cheddar. Sprinkle the cooked packet with shredded cheddar and crumbled bacon. Leave opened on grill about 5 minutes to allow cheese to melt.
Swiss Cheese and Almonds. Sprinkle a cooked packet with a shredded Swiss cheese like Gruyere and toasted sliced almonds. Melt cheese as above.
Arugula and Olives. Gently dump a cooked cauliflower packet over a bed of arugula tossed with mustard vinaigrette. Top with chopped cured black olives.