Sunday, January 29, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower with Nutmeg & Thyme

If someone in your family hates cauliflower, there's a good chance they'll change their mind if they taste roasted cauliflower.  Roasting transforms cauliflower into a mellow & mild-mannered, subtly sweet & slightly nutty veggie the whole family will enjoy--and it won't stink up the kitchen the way other cauliflower-cooking methods will do.  Many recipes for roasted cauliflower call for seasoning it with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, or garlic with salt & pepper, and maybe a little Parmesan cheese.  An Indian-style version would use turmeric and other curry spices, and possibly some cashews for crunch.  Because I was serving roasted cauliflower as the side dish for Greg's German venison gulasch, I decided to use seasonings that are common in German recipes.  I settled on nutmeg and thyme, although with some hesitation because my research failed to uncover other recipes combining just those two seasonings.  But I had a hunch they'd work with the roasted cauliflower, and once we tasted the results, Greg and I agreed that they did (thank goodness!).  If you make this recipe, please leave a comment to let me know what you think. 

This recipe serves four as a side dish.  I used a large head of organic cauliflower but unfortunately forgot to weigh it before cooking.  If you use a small or medium head, you might want to reduce the nutmeg and thyme to 1/4 tsp each, and the oil to 2 tablespoons instead of 3.  And although this recipe is vegetarian, you could certainly add some cooked crumbled bacon before serving.

1 large cauliflower, preferably organic
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp Kosher salt (or to taste)
Ground white pepper to taste (I used several twists from my pepper mill; you can substitute black pepper)

Preheat oven to 450°F degrees.  Wash & dry the cauliflower, remove any leaves and break up into florets.  In a large bowl whisk together remaining ingredients.  Add the florets and gently toss to coat evenly.  Spread the seasoned florets in a single layer on a shallow roasting pan or baking dish and place on middle rack in oven.  Roast at 450°F until golden brown and tender (about 30 to 40 minutes), stirring & turning over the florets occasionally.

Zestfully yours,

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