When I was growing up, cauliflower was pretty much simmered until soft and eaten with butter. End of story. And I liked it fine. I’ve never liked the smell of it cooking, mind you–really, who does?–but I was fine eating it that way. Once I got married, I went years eating it hardly at all, because my husband can’t stand it, but I used to buy it now and then intending to steam some for myself. Sometimes I actually managed to do it, and I discovered that I liked it a bit firmer than my mother used to make it. (To be fair, so does she. It’s my dad who objects to cooked yet “crunchy” vegetables.) It wouldn’t have been a big part of my life again, though, except that my friend and I used to cook together a lot, and once upon a time we tried a recipe she found for Butter Roasted Cauliflower.
And Oh. My. Gosh.
Seriously. I have been known to make this recipe–a good-sized head of cauliflower’s worth–and eat the entire pan myself. (It makes a great lunch, by the way.) It is AMAZING. Unfortunately, no one in my family loves lemon and capers and parsley as much as I do, and so in the interest of branching out a bit I tried this Cauliflower with Tomatoes recipe. And it’s also very tasty. My husband was pleasantly surprised, which is incredible praise from him for a vegetable. My sister experimented with it and uses canned diced tomatoes in the wintertime. (If I’m lucky, she’ll even comment on this post to say exactly how she does it!)
I will freely confess, though, that I don’t always have that much time to spend on a side dish, and so our most common cauliflower method is also the easiest. Here goes:
You take your cauliflower and cut it into florets. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (the clean up is SO much easier), toss the cauliflower with some olive oil and salt and pepper, and place it in a single layer on the cookie sheet. (Don’t stress if it’s crowded, just make sure the florets aren’t on top of each other.) Preheat your oven to 400 and roast for an hour. Voila! (Please pretend you see an accent on that “a”!) My kids and I dip the florets in ketchup, as a sort of cousin to a French fry. (I did actually see this recipe online first, but I never look at the recipe anymore. It’s just that easy.) You do have to serve it with a non-oven main dish, and it wouldn’t be so tempting on a hot day, but it’s yummy! (A warning, though–eat it straight out of the oven. It cools quickly and wouldn’t reheat well!)
How do you like cauliflower?