I know, it’s such a cliché to present you with a whole cauliflower on the second of January, especially after a month-long parade of butter, sugar and bread. And perhaps it’s the decades of conditioning, or the fact that my Christmas season starts the first week of November, but at this point in the picture I tend to hit a wall (of butter, sugar and bread) and really, truly just want some vegetables. (Sadly, this doesn’t prevent me from wanting the last of the Toblerone too.) Of course I’m easing into this whole veggie thing with a healthy dose of cream.
Apologies for the iPhone pics taken in the dark, but this was concocted well before dawn for CBC. It was so magically delicious that I have to share. A whole roasted cauliflower is very pinterest-y these days, but I’ve never actually done it myself. Some techniques have you boil the cauliflower first, simmering it for 15-20 minutes in a mixture of wine and herbs, but to be honest I’d rather drink the wine and skip the whole boiling and draining part – if you slather the cauliflower with oil it will do just fine in the oven on its own. At first it’s a lot like roasting a chicken – all it needs is oil, salt and pepper, but you can jazz things up with some spice if you like.
A whole cauliflower will cook through in 40-60 minutes, just enough time to make it all golden and crusty on the outside and tender in the middle, with no need for a thermometer. I debated a Welsh rarebit sauce, then thought of how well cauliflower pairs with curry. To be honest, I winged the sauce as the cauliflower baked, rubbed with oil and a nice curry paste I had in the fridge, which I also stirred into caramelized onions with a big splash of cream to make a chunky sort of butter chicken sauce to pour around/on top/drag the florets through.
And so a new year begins. Happy 2015 all!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Butter Chicken Sauce
1 small cauliflower
canola oil, for cooking
good-quality curry powder or paste
Butter chicken sauce:
1 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro stems (optional)
2 tsp. good-quality curry paste
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Trim the stem and any leaves off the base of the cauliflower and put it in a small baking dish or oven proof skillet, or on a small baking sheet. Rub it all over with oil and curry powder or paste, and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 40-60 minutes, or until deep golden and tender when poked with a knife.
Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil with the butter in a small skillet set over medium-high heat and sauté the onion for a few minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic, ginger and cilantro and cook for another minute or two.
Stir in the curry paste and cream and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring, for a few minutes or until thickened. Spoon around the roasted cauliflower, or save it to spoon over each wedge.