Thursday, July 19, 2012

roasted cauliflower with kalamata vinaigrette

Anyone who has ever lived with me can testify to the fact that I have an addiction a reasonable love for roasted vegetables. Sweet potatoes. Broccoli. Onions. Red peppers. Butternut squash. Carrots. Zucchini. Asparagus. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Nothing is safe in my kitchen. Whatever is in season inevitably gets tossed with some oil and herbs/spices and thrown into a hot oven until the smell of caramelized goodness dancing through the air is too much for me to resist. Oh, mercy.

So when I saw this recipe, I immediately knew that at least half of the dish would be amazing. If you've never had roasted cauliflower before, I urge you to rectify that right away. Roasting this otherwise bland, nondescript, and often looked-down-upon veggie transforms it into something magical, giving it a nutty flavor that can't be beat. Add a garlicky, salty Kalamata dressing, and this homely plant food becomes the perfect side dish or first course.

While I loved the fun presentation of the thick slices of cauliflower, I'll admit that it was a bit messy and crumbly to work with. Next time, I'll most likely simply cut it into bite-size chunks and toss it with the vinaigrette. And there will most definitely be a next time.

Oh, and as a bonus, any leftover vinaigrette would be fabulous on a Greek salad!

Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 servings

1 head cauliflower (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small garlic clove
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cut cauliflower lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices and place in a large 4-sided sheet pan coated with 1 tbsp of oil. Brush a 2nd tbsp of oil onto the top-side of the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once or twice, until golden and just tender, about 25 minutes.

While the cauliflower roasts, mince and mash the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice or vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, olives, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the cauliflower drizzled with the Kalamata vinaigrette.

Adapted from epicurious


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