A series on vegetables in the kitchen as a main course or close to it!
As vegetables take the spotlight in the main course category, the one that I find to be most satisfying and interesting to present is the ever so white head of cauliflower. In all the years I have been cooking and eating cauliflower(one of my favorites as a kid) I have never thought to roast it whole... like one would roast a chicken or leg of lamb. It is so easy to cook this way and has a great presentation after it is roasted. The head becomes golden and crispy on the ends of the florets and roasts a nutty, sweet flavor throughout.
There are many ingredients you can roast the cauliflower with, but I chose to roast it in a cast-iron pan with the leaves still on and slices of lemons surrounding the head. The roasted lemons create a sauce for the cauliflower that is almost gravy like. It is truly delicious. If you are feeling any bit adventurous, add some capers to the pan and you have something along the lines of a cauliflower piccata. One pot cooking at it's finest!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Capers
1 Large Head of Cauliflower, head slightly quartered. keeping core and leaves in tact
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2-3 Lemons (Meyer or regular), Sliced into ½ inch slices
Sea Salt and Pepper
1-2 Pinches of chili flakes (optional)
3 Tablespoons of Capers
½ Cup of Parmesan Cheese, grated (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 425 Degrees or Convection 375 Degrees
1. Place the cauliflower in a cast-iron pan. Cut the head halfway down into quarters so as to open the cauliflower up. Pull the leaves of the cauliflower down on the sides. Pour the olive oil all over the head and then sprinkle 2 large pinches of salt and pepper on top. Sprinkle the chili flakes on the cauliflower as well. Place the lemon slices around the vegetable and place it in the oven.
2. Roast the cauliflower in the oven for 30 minutes or until it is a deep golden brown. Remove the cauliflower and add in the capers and sprinkle the cheese on top.
3. Spoon any of the juices from the pan over the cauliflower. Serve the pieces with the lemon slices for extra juice.