It is no secret that the humble cauliflower is right up there as one of my all-time favourite vegetables. I love that it has made a come back in recent years and that it has been the hipster vegetable of choice for some time now.
I cooked this whole baked cauliflower over the weekend and shared it with lovely friends. Usually, I rub my cauliflower all over with extra virgin olive oil & sprinkle with sea salt. I then place cauliflower in a baking dish (florets facing up) & bake for 1 ½ hours or until golden and tender. Placing a small bowl containing water, in the bottom of the oven, to let off steam. The problem on the weekend though is that I slid into the kitchen later than I had planned and the 1 ½ hours was not a time indulgence that I had. So, I had to speed things up a little. After a quick google, I came across a recipe by Alon Shaya’s & his baked cauliflower is genius. It calls for cooking the cauliflower first in boiling salted water before transferring to the oven. What this does is locks in the flavour while the baking makes it nicely crisp and golden. It cooked in a third of the time to my usual method. It also meant that the inside of the cauliflower was cooked to perfection without risking the outside burning before doing so. This is the approach I will now always take. Sure, it means one extra pot to wash up, but that’s a small price to pay for whole baked cauliflower perfection. I served this with a herby yoghurt sauce and flaked almonds. Another loved version is to whip up a batch of speedy romesco (page 101 from Relish Mama’ Family’ cookbook). Smear the romesco on the base of a round platter and place the cauliflower on top. Finish with almonds and fresh herbs.
Happy Meatless Monday lovely people.
Whole baked cauliflower
1 large head of cauliflower
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
40g unsalted butter, melted
Sea salt flakes
Herby tahini yoghurt
1 cup of natural or Greek yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup tahini (hulled)
A good handful of fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper
Barberries or pomegranate seeds
Leave the stems and leaves on the cauliflower but give them a little trim if you need to.
Bring a large saucepan to the boil. Add 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Place whole cauliflower in the water, stem side facing up at you & boil for 8 minutes. Allow to air dry in a colander (stem facing downwards now) for 10-15 minutes).
Preheat oven to 220oC.
Rub the cauliflower all over with extra virgin olive oil & melted butter sprinkle with sea salt. Place cauliflower in a baking dish (florets facing up) & bake for 30-40 minutes. I like to let it get burnt in places which gives a really fabulous flavour. Remove from the oven when it is golden all over and place on a serving plate.
To serve, place the cauliflower on a platter. Spoon over the herby tahini yoghurt and finish with barberries. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and a small sprinkling of sea salt. Finish with fresh herbs.