cauliflower is the middle child of the vegetable kingdom. it gets the cold shoulder from food snobs and culinary scaredy-cats alike. it’s not “elegant”, but it’s not “normal” either, so it’s not used as often as it should be. i like cauliflower though, so i set out to create a simple recipe that could make this unsung vegetable really shine.
the first trick was to select an appropriate cooking method. it needed to be hands-off but also needed to add something to the cauliflower. then i needed to tackle flavorings. i opted for a spice/seasoning mix, which is a little unusual for me. however, i wanted something with complex flavoring so that the final dish tasted like it had taken a lot of hard work and thought to prepare…when in reality, it took little to none. select your favorite mixture for this and you’ll be thrilled with the results.
- one head cauliflower, trimmed into florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- seasoning mixture (i used “kansas city rub”, authenticity totally debatable)
clean and trim the cauliflower. tip: when cutting florets only slice through the stalk and then tear the top portion, this prevents the “leaves” from falling off. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. add the cauliflower florets to a large bowl and drizzle on 2 tablespoons of oilve oil, then add the seasoning mixture, salt, and pepper to taste*. toss with your hands, making sure everything is well coated, and then transfer to the lined baking sheet.
bake for 30 minutes, remove and stir, return to oven for another 15 minutes. the cauliflower should be soft on the inside and caramelized on the outside. serve alongside roast chicken or fish, or even toss in pasta with some peccorino romano. enjoy!
notes: the kansas city rub i used is marketed as a meat rub, but worked great on vegetables. you could do a montreal steak seasoning or lemon pepper or even herbes de provence. the important thing is that you like the flavors.
*be sure to not over salt or over pepper as most seasoning mixtures contain one or both of these spices.