Look what's poppin'...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

When presented with a vegetable tray at parties, I always go for the cauliflower first. Everyone knows a raw piece of cauliflower is delicious with ranch dip. But doing the healthy thing and steaming it does absolutely nothing for me. And then I found out it doesn’t have to be blah when you cook it.

Since I’ve given up excessive oatmeal, I had to find another food item to be obsessed about. It’s just how I am. For the time being, cauliflower is it. Now don’t be goin’ all Mr. Jelly Belly on me and turning up your nose…it’s really good stuff!

In my opinion, the best way is to cook it is to roast it with olive oil; however, since my oven hasn’t been cleaned since, well ever, actually, putting really hot oil in it tends to set off the smoke detector. If my poor puppy gets even the slightest whiff of hot oil, he starts whimpering and pawing at the door, desperately trying to get away from that ear-splitting sound. Did I mention it’s a self-cleaning oven? But I digress…

Food snobs will tell you that the only way to eat vegetables is fresh and while I agree, to a point, I find myself using frozen more and more. Frozen vegetables have a much longer shelf life, plus someone else has already done all the cleaning and cutting for me. So it’s your choice – fresh or frozen; the end result is exactly the same.

For you perverse people with sparkling clean ovens, take the whole head and break it up into small pieces (or use frozen – you can defrost first in the microwave if you want, but it’s not necessary). Toss with olive oil (or spritz with this fantastic Misto Olive Oil sprayer) and kosher salt then roast it at 425 degrees for an hour, stirring a few times. When it’s nice and brown – and the browner the better – and the pieces are a bit crunchy, its done.

You’ll notice the above directions said to roast for an hour. As you know, I am far too lazy (and impatient) to keep watch over a bunch of cauliflower for an entire hour. So I now do it on the stove top and it’s much faster. Heat olive oil and garlic (optional) in a large frying pan. Add the cauliflower, season as desired (I like seasoned sea salt) and toss to coat. Cook over a high heat until all the pieces are browned. This probably takes, at the most, 25 minutes. When it’s done, you can sprinkle with some parmesan if you like, but it doesn’t need it.

The good thing about this is it’s not only good as a side dish at dinner, it also makes a great snack. Who knew?

Next up: I have a really interesting recipe that uses cauliflower as the crust for pizza. I’ll bet you can hardly wait.


Midlife Mommy said...

It does sound yummy. But the stuff in the bucket looks better (smile).

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

That IS the stuff in the bucket, silly! Although mine doesn't usually brown quite that evenly. :)