In This Recipe, Cauliflower Requires Its Rightly Location As A Major System

Cauliflower is extra than acquiring a instant!  It has not only still left the uneaten crudité trays of its earlier, but it is a star ingredient remaining made into rice, pizza crusts, crackers and extra.

Even much better, when sliced like a steak, or roasted whole, it is the middle of the plate.

I have been roasting and grilling cauliflower for much of my adult life.  I identified early in my grill experiments that cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are transformed by the grill, or any superior dry warmth.  My 1st experiment was barbecuing a entire head of cabbage, basting it in butter and barbecue spices right until the leaves had been silky and tender and you could pluck them like the leaves of an artichoke.  This is however my most loved way to take in cabbage.

Future, I coated florets of cauliflower and broccoli with olive oil and salt and grilled or roasted them until eventually they had been golden brown and caramelized and so great, you could take in them like popcorn.  That preparation has been a staple in my house at any time given that, and a single of the greatest approaches I know to take in veggies.

A few years in the past, I—like so a lot of other adventuresome house cooks and chefs—started cooking cauliflower steaks.  First, when I was composing my cookbook, Steak and Cake as a “steak” substitute for my vegetarian mates, and eventually due to the fact it tasted so very good and was fairly wholesome. But, it wasn’t until this pandemic that I lastly tackled roasting the entire cauliflower.

I had resisted it simply because all those I revered in the food items earth explained to me that you have to par-boil it.  And, if there is a person factor that I cannot stand, it is par-boiling and then roasting.  It’s not sensible, mainly because I adore cooking all make a difference of meat by sous vide and then searing it on the grill—my version of reverse sear.  But for some purpose, I consider a tricky-move on any recipe, primarily vegetables, that have to have a boil and a bake.  In the situation of whole roasted cauliflower, I made a decision that I would operate on building a “work all over.”

At initially, I trimmed the leaves, coated the total cauliflower in olive oil and salt and pepper and allow it roast for almost a few hours.  It was fantastic, but it was quite crispy and a bit tough and dried out.  But it peaked the curiosity of my sister, Mary Pat, and she requested me what I did.  I relayed my course of action and due to the fact she didn’t have a few several hours to get evening meal on for her loved ones, she eliminated the stems from the heads of two little cauliflower, oiled and seasoned them, and set them to roast.  She noted that her heads of cauliflower were flawlessly cooked by way of in an hour and a half—about half the time that my cauliflower took.

The future time that I roasted a entire head of cauliflower, I trimmed the leaves from the bottom and thoroughly eliminated the stem leaving the head intact.  You have to be cautious that you never minimize any florets off when you are performing this.  I then coated the full head both the major and base with olive oil and seasoned it liberally with Lebanese za’atar and kosher salt. I positioned the entire head on a parchment-lined quarter sheet pan and roasted it for 1.5 several hours in a 375°F oven.

The result was entire roasted cauliflower perfection devoid of obtaining to par-boil it.  The outside the house was deliciously crusted with the flavors of za’atar and roasted caramelized cauliflower.  For entertaining, and out of curiosity, I resolved to temp the head. It’s not frequent to exam veggies for doneness working with a thermometer, but I puzzled if it would temp like meat.  I slipped the instantaneous-examine thermometer into the thickest element of the heart and I could explain to it was tender by the way it felt. It temped and felt significantly like a very well-cooked pork butt, from 195°F -205°F, relying on the posture of the thermometer. 

I reduce it into four equivalent parts and the knife went by the middle like butter. No toughness, nothing at all dried out.  The removal of the stem permitted for extra air to flow into via the heart of the complete cauliflower and resulted in image best cooking.  You could not have to have a stage-by-action recipe to make this if you read through my course of action higher than, but so a lot of people today have questioned me for a recipe that I bundled it underneath.

Za’atar Crusted Roasted Complete Head of Cauliflower

Za’atar is also having a moment and is the ideal seasoning for roasted cauliflower. It is commonly a dried spice combination of oregano, thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and centered on the area, other herbs and sometimes salt. It is conveniently observed in any center-japanese meals retailer, on-line and even in some conventional grocery merchants. Discover your favourite version and you are going to find yourself working with it on every little thing.  My most loved edition is a no-salt Lebanese edition that is major on the sesame seeds which I enjoy due to the fact it give a toasty nutty taste to almost everything you sprinkle it on.

Serves 2 as a key training course and 4 as a aspect dish

1          whole head of cauliflower

            Olive oil

2          tablespoons favourite za’atar seasoning

1          teaspoon kosher salt

            Flaky sea salt these as Maldon or Fleur de Sel for serving

Preheat the oven to 375° F 

Rinse the cauliflower and meticulously trim the leaves from the base employing a sharp paring knife.  Once the leaves are trimmed, make compact cuts close to the diameter of the stem and pull the stem out. You want to be watchful not to reduce any florets out, but you effectively want a hole beneath that the warmth can journey as a result of.

Location the cauliflower [stem-side down] on a parchment-paper lined sheet pan.  I use a quarter sheet pan that actions about 9 x 13 inches.  Rub cauliflower all in excess of with olive oil.  You will require to use your fingers to make guaranteed all the exterior surfaces are oiled.  This will support reduce the cauliflower from drying out.

Time liberally with za’atar.  Sprinkle with salt.  Alternatively, you can blend the za’atar and salt collectively and time the complete cauliflower the moment.

Area the sheet pan in the oven and let roast 1.5 several hours.  At this issue, an immediate-examine thermometer should go into the center of the cauliflower simply and the temperature reading through really should be concerning 195°F -205°F.  If you do not have an fast-read through thermometer, use a modest knife and insert it into the thickest element of the cauliflower.  It need to come to feel like slicing by smooth butter.

Take away the pan from the oven and drizzle lightly with olive oil and a modest pinch of flaky sea salt.  Cut cauliflower into quarters and serve. It is delicious served alone but is also good with each Labneh and Tahini sauce.