Stinky Cauliflower

Many years ago, my sister and I decided we would never cook cauliflower again.  We were home alone and decided to stir fry some cauliflower.  Not only ddi it take forever to cook, but it was disgusting: mushy and stinky.  We added water and covered it with a lid, hoping to speed up the cooking time, but seems we made a classic mistake in vegetable cookery  – “aromatic” vegetables (i.e. stinky ones, like cauliflower and brussel sprouts) should be allowed to release their smelly aromas.  Good to know!

Despite my dislike for cauliflower, I decided to give it another shot – clearly recognizing that a new methodology was required.  The inspiration to give cauliflower another shot came from my favourite restaurant in Vancouver, Nuba.  One of their most famous appetizers is called Najib’s special, which is a crispy cauliflower dish served with lemon, sea salt and tahini.  This recipe that I use at home is from the magazine America’s Test Kitchen (my go-to recipe source).  It is so simple and easy!  In a nutshell, you season and roast using three 10 minute intervals!

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Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 475F
  2. Trim cauliflower into even pieces (to ensure equal cooking time; the recipe calls for 8 equal wedges, but I generally cut them smaller just to make it easier to eat)
  3. Place the cauliflower in a bowl, toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper (distributing the oil and seasoning evenly)
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment (I prefer parchment), place cauliflower on the baking sheet (no overlapping, if possible)
  5. Cover the baking sheet tightly with foil and roast for 10 minutes.  (This is the first of the 10 minute intervals and here, you are trying to steam the cauliflower – it doesn’t release a lot of stinky aromas at the very beginning)
  6. Remove the foil on top and continue to roast until the bottoms of the cauliflower are golden brown.  This is the second of the 10 minute intervals.
  7. Take the cauliflower out and flip it over and continue to roast for 10 more minutes (the third and last interval – here you are just trying to brown the other side).
  8. Taste and adjust your seasoning (salt/pepper) if needed.  Serve with lemon.  Yum!
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