I feel like certain vegetables, at least lately, seem to be getting a whole lot more attention than others.
They are like the popular kids in the food world. Everyone is always talking about them, every new cookbook includes at least one recipe for them, and restaurant menus have decided to dedicate entire dishes around them. Kale, dubbed the unofficial queen of greens, is the most obvious vegetable that comes to mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me some kale–I will always love kale and more importantly, I will always eat kale. But I’m more than ready for a new vegetable to gain the spotlight. In fact, I sort of already think one particular vegetable has….at least, unofficially, that is.
And, of course, that vegetable would be cauliflower. Ta da!!
Isn’t she pretty?
When steamed or eaten raw, cauliflower remains a little plain Jane. Tasty, but nothing too memorable or special.
But when tossed with olive oil and roasted at a high temperature until crispy and caramelized? Wowza–that is when she really shines! (Analogies are officially over, sorry about that.)
If you’ve never been a huge fan of cauliflower in the past or haven’t prepared it this way before, I implore you do so as soon as possible. I promise, you will become a cauliflower convert for life.
Once again, today’s recipe was inspired by a restaurant meal eaten out a few weeks ago. As usual, Connor and I instantly gravitated towards the appetizers and small plates on the menu. One, in particular, was a side dish of roasted cauliflower, piping hot out of the oven, and tossed with lemon, tahini, and fresh mint. Sold.
The combination of the caramelized, slightly sweet cauliflower, creamy rich tahini, and bright pop of lemon juice and mint worked so harmoniously together. Ultimately, this dish ended up being one of the most memorable parts of the entire meal.
So much so that I couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen and recreate it right at home to share with you all. Enjoy!
Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Tahini
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pinches of red hot pepper flakes
Lemon Tahini Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons tahini paste
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- small handful of fresh mint, chiffonade (optional, but recommended)
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the leavess and lower stem of the cauliflower. Using a knife, cut the head of cauliflower into four quarters. Slice each quarter into 6-8 pieces (try to keep the florets roughly the same size to ensure even cooking and browning)--aim for florets that are roughly an inch in diameter at the top.
- Rinse the florets in a colander and shake to dry. Spread them out evenly on a large baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Season with hot pepper flakes and sea salt.
- Roast for 10 minutes at 500 degrees (F)--remove and flip the florets--turn down the heat to 450 degrees (F) and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes until the florets are evenly caramelized and fork tender.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini paste, and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste (it will be relatively thick).
- Remove the florets from the oven, salt to taste, and immediately add the sauce directly to the cauliflower on the baking sheet. Using a spoon, toss the florets until they are all evenly coated (it is important to do this right when you take it out of the oven, as the heat will loosen and thin the dressing down).
- Roast for another 5-10 minutes, until hot. Garnish with chiffonade of mint and serve immediately.
Be sure to choose cauliflower that is firm and tightly closed, with little to no blemishes. This dish is inspired by this restaurant.
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