Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Sauce

Simple vegetable side dishes rarely knock my socks off. I love vegetables, but the passionate exclamations are usually reserved for things topped with melted cheese. This, however, is one of those really great finds that is simple, healthful, beautiful, easy, uses fresh herbs, and tastes lovely. And, there is really nothing to it.

Ever since I prepared it the first time I’ve had a Willie Nelson song playing in my head,

“Miracles appear in the strangest of places…fancy meeting you here.

The last time I saw you was just out of Houston…sit down, let me buy you a beer.”


The song is Yesterday’s Wine. It is not that relevant, but I remember seeing a photo posted on Twitter by a Texas food notable named Robb Walsh. He was, I presume, the one taking the photo of a friend of his who was about to dive into a giant whole, roasted head of cauliflower at a restaurant. And, poof, my brain says, “miracles appear in the strangest of places.” Not that roasted cauliflower exactly is a miracle. But, within a mere second, Yesterday’s Wine was stuck in my head. And, that is not a bad thing, as I’m terribly fond of Willie Nelson…running shoes, farmer’s, pot, and all. But now this roasted cauliflower dish will forevermore be associated with Yesterday’s Wine. Funny, as a kid this was one of the songs I’d ask my parents to skip in favor of the more rowdy ones like Whiskey River. Although, now I get the “aging with time, like yesterday’s wine” line on a personal level. And all of a sudden, I can’t and don’t want to get the song out of my head.

So, I roasted a head of cauliflower, and while I was waiting for it to come out of the oven I whipped up a little fresh herb and lemon dressing, which I simply poured on top of the cauliflower when it was beautifully browned and roasted.  The tanginess of the lemon dressing on the hot cauliflower was unexpectedly wonderful, and the fresh herbs were a lovely counterpoint to the earthy, deeply roasted, cauliflower. It is a really nice, unique presentation for cauliflower.

The inspiration for the dressing is a 2006 Gourmet recipe which actually has capers and parsley in it. I went solely for fresh herbs since my garden is suddenly teeming with them. Grab a handful of parsley, a little oregano, some sage and a little thyme. I ran across it on Epicurious, which is one of my very favorite cooking apps for my iPad.

Roasted Cauliflower with Herb Sauce
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Recipe type: side
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
If you like cauliflower, this will make you very happy. It is a dish to be taken whole to the table. It is gorgeous.
Ingredients
Cauliflower
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Dressing
  • ⅟₂ cup mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano, sage, and thyme (a small handful, and primarily parsley), chopped fine
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the cauliflower head and cut out the stem section, but only enough to remove the greens and leaves. The remaining stems keep the florets intact, so don’t trim too deeply.
  2. Place the head of cauliflower in a pie dish, or other baking dish and rub the 2 tablespoons of oil onto the surface of the head. Sprinkle the head with kosher salt, and place it in the oven to roast. Roast for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the tip of a knife is easily inserted into the head. Check at 1 hour and if the head is browning too much, place a piece of tin foil over it for the remaining time.
  3. Meanwhile, thoroughly chop and mix the fresh herbs. Place them in a small bowl (or lidded jar) and add the lemon juice. Add the oil and whisk (or shake) the dressing until it has emulsified.
  4. When you remove the cauliflower from the oven, let it sit for a few minutes, especially if you are serving out of the baking dish. If not serving from the roasting dish, carefully transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish and pour the lemon and herb dressing over it. Cut the cauliflower into wedges (like slices of pie) to serve.

Notes:

And since I’m name dropping, you should know that Robb Walsh just published a new cookbook called Texas Eats. I received my copy last week. It is awesome. It even has a method for making Franklin BBQ’s brisket which I haven’t tasted yet, but for which people will apparently spend an hour in line. Tacos, German Pretzels, Fried Catfish…all of the great Texas dishes from all of the well known spots. It is a tour of the best (at least my kind of best). Also in Texas Food news, the Foodways Texas Symposium is this weekend in Austin!! I’ll be there and I hope you will be, too.

Comments

  1. says

    The guy diving into the cauliflower was Pableaux Johnson and the restaurant was Domenica in the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. The roasted cauliflower was served there with a creamed feta and garlic dipping sauce. (Tasted like lebne to me.)

    I like the lemon herb sauce idea. I had the same inspiration–I made a roasted cauliflower two nights ago and topped it a mustard vinaigrette.

    See you at the symposium!

  2. Julie Wayman says

    W0w! Joe and I devoured nearly an entire cauliflower last night. The herb topping is delicious and so healthy…a ral keeper!
    Hello to you and your wonderful family

  3. fuljat says

    Might taste nice, but something about the solidity of that cannonball shape puts me off. Might be a case for separating it before serving.

  4. Kelly says

    Cannonball…that made me laugh. You could certainly cut it into wedges before serving it. I think that would be lovely. Funny enough, I love the look of the bronzed whole head. I also can’t resist how easy it makes the preparation. But, by all means, slice away before serving. But do try it. It is a treat.

  5. Johnny says

    Made this tonight… Absolutely scrumptious! My wife and I loved it. Normally I run from cauliflower (and other cruciferous vegetables), but this was incredibly good. I’ll be making this again. Thanks so much. Johnny and Fay…

  6. Kelly says

    Johnny, I’m so glad you both liked it. That makes me happy. I think it is a nice easy recipe to have handy. And, I appreciate you getting back to me and letting me know that the recipe worked for you.

  7. Anne Murphy says

    Made this for dinner Sunday night – SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS. I’m never going to steam cauliflower (or broccoli, or asparagus, or …) ever again. Roasted veggies ROCK – and this vinaigrette made it all the better. Thank you for a great recipe!

  8. Kelly says

    Roasted veggies DO rock. I feel the same way. I have been doing a lot more roasting than steaming these days. It adds so much more to the flavor, I think. I’m so glad you liked it, Anne.

  9. says

    I found this wonderful recipe through Pinterest and made it tonight to accompany a roast chicken and some other veggies – it was delicious and added a nice freshness to the meal :) Thanks!

  10. Kelly says

    I’m so glad you liked it. I bet it was great with roast chicken. Great idea. I’m glad you found PIE. Pinterest is such a great place to find inspiration!

  11. Elizabeth says

    I love this idea! Roasted cauliflower is already one of my family’s favorites but I cut it up and toss it with OO, crushed garlic & anchovies, red pepper flakes and salt. I will be trying this version very soon. My husband is part Lebanese so anything that has lemon to it is great in our house! Thanks!

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