Why It Works
- Slicing the head of cauliflower into wedges, rather than cutting it into small pieces, creates greater contrast between the caramelized exterior and tender interior.
- A sweet and tangy vinaigrette nicely offsets the nuttiness of the cauliflower.
Cauliflower and broccoli look similar at first, and the goal is the same when you're roasting them—sweet nuttiness from browning and caramelization—but cauliflower (and its cousin romanesco) is much denser than broccoli, and thus needs to be treated differently to get there.
As with other brassicas, high heat is what you're after here in order to get the most flavor out of cauliflower. Cutting the heads up into fat wedges helps build up a nice contrast between the deeply browned exterior and the tender, meaty interior. It's cauliflower that eats almost like a steak.
I have found that the best method is to split trimmed cauliflower (or romanesco) through the core into six to eight wedges, toss with oil, season, and roast at 500°F (260°C) until browned and tender, flipping once during cooking.
Roasted cauliflower is great on its own, with just a drizzle of really good olive oil or lemon, but I like to turn mine into a warm salad with a more elaborate vinaigrette, like this one flavored with pine nuts, capers, and raisins.
How to Roast Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
6 tablespoons (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (15ml) sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon (15ml) honey
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 500°F (260°C). Toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until cauliflower is tender and deeply browned on both sides, about 20 minutes total, flipping cauliflower with a thin metal spatula halfway through roasting.
While cauliflower roasts, combine remaining 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil, vinegar, honey, capers, pine nuts, raisins, and parsley. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer cooked cauliflower to a serving plate and spoon dressing on top. Serve immediately.
Rimmed baking sheet, thin metal spatula
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 27g||34%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||17%|
|Total Carbohydrate 19g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||15%|
|Total Sugars 13g|
|Vitamin C 65mg||325%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|