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dani coleman

I am a private chef primarily based on the island of Nantucket.

Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Romesco

Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Romesco

By now, most cooks I know are over the whole cauliflower craze and that includes the one where you roast the cauliflower whole. I am not over it. I fucking love cauliflower in any shape or form, but by far the best shape and form is beautiful, perfectly bronzed, tender, majestic and roasted whole. This delicious vegetable may be gilded further by placing it in a generous pool of Romesco, another trendy sauce that I have not tired of yet. Both are super easy, particularly if you have a good blender or food processor to make the Romesco. I am also going to take this opportunity to pitch one of my favorite knives to you. It is perfect for getting the core out of the cauliflower, plus a million other tasks in the kitchen. It is cheap and easy to get (here on Amazon), and I know you will fall in love with it too: the bird’s beak paring knife!

There are a million recipes for both of these dishes and I am still going to share mine with you. What I will tell you is that the last time I made this combo, I used a jar of piquillo peppers that I had hanging around and it elevated the Romesco to new heights. I loved this brand and it was perfect-not too spicy, deep pepper flavor and the most beauteous dark red color. I highly recommend subbing them in for regular roasted red peppers. If you get your cauliflower in the oven and make the sauce while it is cooking, this is a pretty hands-free situation. It is also gluten free, vegan and absolutely impressive to serve your friends and family. Cauliflower is perfection at this very moment, so run to the farmer’s market, get some and make this today!

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Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Romesco

Serves a few hungry people as a side dish or two as a main course

Ingredients

1 large, perfect, beautiful cauliflower

Some decent cooking EVOO

Salt and pepper

2 cloves of garlic

3/4 cup of almonds, toasted

A large handful of parsley

1 14 ounce jar of Piquillo peppers, drained (I like this one)

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons of GOOD sherry vinegar (I like this one)

2 teaspoons of smoked paprika

1/2 cup good EVOO

*cayenne-if you like spicy, add a 1/2 teaspoon, otherwise not necessary

Salt and pepper

Another handful of flat parsley leaves, casually torn

Method

Heat your oven to 400°. Carefully cut the core of your cauliflower out from the bottom (using your fabulous new bird’s beak knife) trying not to separate any florets from the stalk. Don’t overly worry if you do-you will get the hang of it in time. Place your cauliflower on a baking tray and drizzle olive oil over it-maybe 1/4-1/2 of a cup, depending on the size. Rub it all over so it is thoroughly greased up. Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or so and then remove the foil, turn the heat down to 375 and continue to bake for about another hour or hour and a half. You are looking for burnished brown and tender throughout (use a cake tester, skewer, or toothpick to check).

While your beauty is in the oven, get out your blender, processor, or super sharp knife and bowl if you have neither (I am actually more of a processor fan for this task). Toss the first three ingredients into the machine and blitz till pasty. Add the peppers, tomato paste, vinegar, and paprika and blitz again till puréed. Slowly pour in the EVOO with the machine running and taste. Add salt, pepper, and (maybe) cayenne to your liking. If doing by hand, basically chop the hell out of everything and mix in the EVOO at the end. Or use a mortar and pestle and mash everything similarly. It will all taste delicious any way you do it.

When your cauliflower is finished, cut it into big meaty slices, and place it on a platter, which you have previously smeared great quantities of your gorgeous Romesco. Toss a great handful of the torn parsley leaves on top and proudly serve to your loved ones.

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