Last fall, I came across lots of recipes for whole roasted cauliflower. The dish has amazing visual impact, and if you poach it first in wine and spices, the flavour is extraordinary. Of the various recipes that I tried, I liked the technique used in this recipe from Bon Appetite the best. It involves poaching the cauliflower in a flavourful brine. My only concern about the recipe, and the reason I have not shared it earlier, is that you are left with a big vat of poaching liquid. I did not feel comfortable discarding all of that wine and good olive oil, but it is quite salty and I had a hard time figuring out how to use it. I have finally decided that it is best used to poach other foods. It is a good poaching liquid for eggs or chicken. You can also use it to boil potatoes or shrimp.
Romesco sauce is a simple and delicious combination of roasted peppers, nuts, herbs, and garlic blended with good olive oil and vinegar. This sauce makes everything taste good. Also, it is easy to make, so there is no good reason not to put it on everything. I’ve been putting it on whole roasted cauliflower and also on the shrimp, chicken and potatoes that I’ve been cooking in the tasty leftover poaching liquid.
WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
Adapted from Bon Appetite
- 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups of water
- 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed
Preheat oven to 475°. Bring everything but the cauliflower to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes. If the cauliflower is not totally submerged, you should rotate it once at the half way point. Strain the poaching liquid and save it for poaching shrimp, eggs, chicken or potatoes.
Using 2 slotted spoons, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet, Drain off any extra liquid. Roast the cauliflower in the heated oven, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes. If your oven is uneven rotate the pan half of the way through. Serve with Romesco Sauce.
- 2 large roasted red bell peppers (directions for roasting peppers can be found here)
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1/4 cup (1 oz) slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup ( 1 or 2 oz) hazelnuts, toasted
- 1 small ripe tomato
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine everything in a blender and process it until it has a consistency that you like. I like mine with a bit of texture. To me, Romesco sauce tastes best at room temperature.
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