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Cauliflower please!

May 13, 2010

Well hello there once again – if there’s anyone still out there, that is!  I’ve missed you all during my time in hermitage, and funnily enough I think my cooking has suffered too. Without the impetus of this blog to try new things – not to mention having my head down on the novel – we’ve fallen into a bit of a culinary rut round these parts. But now seems a great time to get back into the kitchen. All this cold weather finally, and all that wintry stuff to play with. Only trouble now I think is that what with the early darkness and evening cookery, the pix might suffer – but cest la vie. It’s good to be back.

So! On my first day back at the post I wanted to share my newest infatuation – roasted cauliflower.

I love a good cauli any old how, and in fact have been indulging in a bit of excellent cauliflower cheese lately too. But the other week,  through sheer laziness, I just chucked a few hunks in with some other roasting veg. And discovered for the first time how beautifully the whole flavour changes when it’s lightly browned – much nuttier, and super good.

Not rocket science, I hear you say – and you’ve all probably been doing this for years. But just in case you haven’t tried it, you must. I toss & turn the cauli florets in oil first with my hands, to make sure they have a good coating (you could spray them with olive oil too I guess, which might give a more even slather), and then whack them in the oven with whatever else you have going on, for a good half-hour or more, turning a couple of times. The best flavour is when it’s well browned all over.

I note here that Mr Oliver is a fan of the roasted cauli too, but he blanches it first and goes in for a bit of additional flavoursome whatnot, whereas being a girl of simple tastes, I am totally hot for the easy bung-it-in-the-oven version.

Love to hear of anything you do to give your cauliflower some power … and thank you for coming back.

17 comments

  1. Yay! And YUM!

    Great to have you back, Shuckin’ Charlotte. I think cauliflower really comes into its own in winter. I don’t think I’ve ever had it simply roasted, though, so I’ll give it a shot. Cauliflower cheese? Yes please!


  2. Welcome back Charlotte (though I do like ‘Shuckin’ Charlotte’ as mentioned above, except I actually typed ‘Shuckin’ Charlotta’, which I must say sounds just a little too drag-queen-esque or something you do to spring onions). Re. cauliflower – am not a fan. Reminds me of family dinner-table discussions at which me and my two older brothers would make terrible jokes about our mother’s cooking of this particular vegetable. But I’m open for conversion. Again, welcome back to the wonderful world of blogospherics.


  3. Roasting transforms this bumpy customer- I agree. And makes a mean curry. Oh the white sauce of my childhood- ugh.


  4. Welcome back. We’ve been happy little cauliflower roasters for the last four or five years, and we’ve virtually given up cooking it any other way. The first time I tasted it I knew I had tasted that flavour before – it comes out very like the way the Lebanese restaurants serve it.


    • Sound gorgeous Charlotte, especially if, as Jamie says, it’s a bit like the Lebanese way. Have you tried that Jared Ingersoll pasta recipe with fried cauliflower, chilli, capers, olives, anchovies parsley and a shitload of parmesan? It goes nutty in that too.


      • I’ve made pasta a bit like this one – very quick and delicious. Tiny florets – blanched then fried to colour – chilli, flat leaf parsely, garlic, parmesan, olive oil (I’ve been using Novello Di Macina unfiltered ev- recommended by one of your visitors) and lots of salt and pepper – but now I’ve read this recipe, anchovies is the obvious missing ingredient. (Cauliflower also a lovely sooky vegetable cooked till mushy in chicken stock – served w parmesan and pepper.) Welcome back!


  5. Okay, I have to say I have never considered roasting cauliflower. We have a big roast dinner weekly around here and it always involves roast carrots or broccoli or courgettes or godknowswhat. But cauliflower? Never! Duh. Seems so obvious. I know what we’re roasting this week…


  6. So very glad you are back Charlotte! Have sorely missed your blogging goodness – rocking out with cauliflower this weeked for shiz!


  7. Hi Charlotte,

    Like a few of the other postings, up here in Shangers, we are using tiny florets…which we are blanching them first quite quickly, then dusting them in freshly gound dried tumeric, cumin and corriander seed… saute in olive oil finishing with currants, pine nuts and dried orange zest, a touch of lemon juice and chopped parsley. Spooned over some grilled scallops, its a winner!

    Great to see the “Shuck” back on!


  8. Oh, how lovely of you all to come back. I am zinging for this little floret with currants and orange zest Hamish – and by the way, I think all howtoshuckers would love to join me in congratulations on the arrival of your gorgeous Archie. We are thrilled to have a newborn cook our ranks. Now, are you talking the Asian dried orange peel or just leaving a bit of zest on the bench for a couple of days?

    I am glad some of you others have never roasted cauli before either, although once I posted this and saw a few remarks I thought my fab new idea might have been akin to suggesting that if you put an egg in boiling water for a while, it TOTALLY changes texture and flavour – amazing!

    And thanks to you all for the pasta ideas – I think tonight I shall be having a go at that. Once the anchovies, capers and chilli are involved, I’m listening – add cauli and I’m there.


    • Yes, have been swaddling Archie in my chefs apron at the end of the day to get him used to scents and flavors!!

      Microplane the orange zest onto some baking paper, and leave it out to dry on the bench is getting a great result!

      BTW am in a bit of a bloody mary and variation fascination at the moment and was wondering if you could get your shucking fans to throw some ideas out there… I have an interesting one from a Mexican friend (who has a striking resemblance to that creepy guy from No Country for Old Men), anywho he mixes it with vodka, olive brine and lemon juice all about equal parts, lots of black pepper, a little salt, worcesterchire, tobasco and tomato juice…then shakes it on ice, strains it and tops the glass up with beer (kind of like a larger top in the UK). Anyway great result, but looking for more recipes to investigate!


      • woohoo, we love a challenge, specially one involving alcohol! I shall put out the call ….


  9. Tonight we had pasta with the blanched tiny florets fried with garlic, capers, olives & anchovies, & Parmesan. WIN. My thanks to all! Next stop that currant & dried zest number …


  10. My cat enjoys eating pieces of raw cauliflower! Apparently it’s a bit of a cat thing.


  11. Wow Melinda – I have never heard that!


  12. My mum, for whom you cooked one of your best dinners in recent years ( that lamb, that quince cake!) made a Heston Blumenthal cauliflower soup this week which added some curry powder and some COCOA powder!!! She said it was delish.


  13. […] shuck an oyster writes about her kitchen adventures. And it was Charlotte writing about cauliflower here and here that prompted this salad. It was so easy and delicious and here is the recipe. Put a […]



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