Contemporary Roasted Cauliflower

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
roasted cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

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.

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.

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