Bring Me The Head of Roasted Cauliflower

Here’s a secret for successful cooking: follow your urge. Too often we punish ourselves with recipes that are supposed to be good for us or easy to do instead of trusting the greatest tool we have, the little voice in our head that tells us what we’re hungry for.

If you have a craving for pizza or pasta or Lobster Thermidor, that’s a very lucky thing: that’s your body telling you what will make it happiest. Pay close attention, then, and react accordingly. For example, on Friday night my body had an urge for cauliflower. Not just any cauliflower, though: the roasted cauliflower I had with Heidi and Bruce at Pizza Delfina in San Francisco. It’s an entire head of cauliflower roasted with capers and red chile flakes and all other kinds of seasonings.

I thought I’d have to wing it, but then I found this recipe on Epicurious and you know what? It was awesome. You just take a head of cauliflower, get rid of the green, rub the whole thing with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop into a 450 oven until it’s dark golden brown. When it comes out, you pour a vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice and capers over the top. I added some red chile flakes to give it some heat and served it up with the leftover pork from the other night.

Oh my, how it hit the spot. See? Take my advice: listen to your craving. It guarantees success each and every time you cook. Unless, of course, you have a craving for food that is unsuccessful. That’s a conundrum even I can’t solve.

12 thoughts on “Bring Me The Head of Roasted Cauliflower”

  1. I just read a similar recipe in a Thanksgiving-themed edition of Gourmet from last year. It sounded really yummy.

    I also perscribe to the theory that cravings are OK to give into. Just in moderation. Chances are two cookies will take that craving down. By five, you’re not satifying a sweet tooth any more, you’re stuffing yourself silly.

  2. Perfect timing — I have a head of cauliflower from my CSA last week that’s been eying me reproachfully every time I open the fridge door. I’ve taken to mumbling excuses at it while rapidly shutting the door and avoiding eye contact. it’s not been pretty.

  3. Adam – I’m swooning over this, seriously, it’s the best idea I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll be making it this week. THANKS. Love the new site, by the way.

  4. I don’t really like cauliflower, but I LOVE roasted cauliflower. The way I make it, i cut the cauliflower into small-ish florets, which maximizes the yummy-crispy-brown-part ratio. (turn them over halfway through cooking time for even browning.) An excellent restaurant here in toronto serves it with a tahini sauce drizzled over, which makes it beyond fabulous.

  5. I am taking this post and the brunch post as a sign. I had been craving pancakes but was really on the fence as I’ve had a good amount to eat today (but I’m still hungry). And I read the brunch post, which intensified my craving for breakfast foods. And then this post to give into cravings. So, I am going to make pan cakes now. Thank you.

  6. This reminds me of my favorite cauliflower recipe. You might want to try it sometime: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, place the whole head of cauliflower and cook until tender (about 15 mins). In a mortar and pestle, grind 3-4 cloves of garlic with 3-4 tbsp of olive oil. Drain the cauliflower, pour the olive oil and garlic mixture on top while still hot, grind some black pepper and squeeze juice of a lemon on top and cover. Then wait for 10 minutes, uncover and start eating. And a tip for getting rid of the funky smell of boiling cauliflower: place a piece of bread (crust removed) in the boiling water.

  7. Totally agree about feeing your cravings – it’s a good thing. There is something about cauliflower … seriously, i sort of “rediscovered” it recently and ever since then it seems like cauliflower is everywhere i look – it’s great! I also agree with some of the posts here that roasted cauliflower is one of the best ways to approach this particular veggie. I’ve made them with a light batter recently (outrageously good when deep fried) as well as drizzling the chopped florets with red chili pepper flake-infused olive oil and some salt and pepper… amazingly simple and amazingly tasty. Rock on AG!

  8. Looks delicious, so maybe this is no longer relevant, but the SF Chronicle actually published Pizzeria Delfina’s roasted cauliflower recipe last year:

    But if you really want roasted cauliflower heaven, try Brett’s recipe from In Praise of Sardines. This is not only the best roasted cauliflower I’ve ever had, it’s one the best things I’ve ever made, period.

  9. Yum, this looks delicious! I have a recipe for roasted cauliflower that involves olive oil, lots of fresh garlic, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for the last ten minutes of roasting. I make it almost once a week it’s so good. I’m going to try your recipe next time I’m craving cauliflower!

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