I absolutely love roasted veggies!
Put that oven on 400 or higher and let the caramelization begin! Brussels Sprouts were the first veggie that I cranked the heat up on and Jolly and I always race to be the first to grab those extra crispy, dark brown outer leaves that have fallen off! They never make it to the plate!
In the words of Anne Burrell “Brown food tastes good!”
Cauliflower was soon to follow for me, although I always cut it into florets, tossed with olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes, roast until browned to golden perfection and yum!
So when I saw the photo of the whole head of cauliflower, gorgeous char on the edges and giant knife sticking out of it in the May (2013) issue of Bon Appetit, I knew I would be trying it.
As is usually the case I put my own spin on it and a few of the variations came without much thought and proved to be even better, in my opinion!
I’ve been in a blue cheese mood lately and thought it would be great in this whipped cheese dip, especially since we planned to serve this with grilled rib eye steaks.
I also cut the cauliflower head in half and I’m so glad I did because it created a great surface to really caramelize on the bottom and really, that is the best part of any high-heat roasted veggie! A cast-iron skillet aids that process in this recipe as well. If you don’t own a cast-iron skillet, run out right now to the grocery or hardware store and get one. You won’t be sorry and there is just no other cooking vessel like it!
The wine adds a nice punch to the boiling liquid. If you don’t want to use it, substitute chicken broth to add to the flavor infusion. Don’t be tempted to skip the boiling step. It truly does add a terrific layer of flavor and the already cooked cauliflower caramelizes better than if you started it raw.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER with WHIPPED BLUE CHEESE
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed
2 cups dry white wine
8 cups water
1 whole lemon, sliced in half
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup salt
1 TB red pepper flakes
1 TB sugar
3 TB butter
1 bay leaf
5 oz blue cheese
3 oz cream cheese
3 oz feta cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 TB olive oil
salt to taste
coarse sea salt
2 TB fresh chives
In a large stockpot bring all ingredients except cauliflower to a boil. Slice head of cauliflower in half, add to boiling liquid, reduce to simmer and cook 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475.
Using a slotted spoon, remove cauliflower halves from liquid, drain well. Place in cast iron skillet or on baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes until well caramelized.
Meanwhile add cheeses and heavy cream to food processor, process until smooth, add olive oil, process again until very smooth and whipped.
Place in bowl, sprinkle with half the chives and chill until ready to use.
When cauliflower is done, drizzle with olive oil, coarse salt and chives. Serve with whipped cheese on the side.