Monday, September 2, 2013

Spice-Infused Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Cheese or Lemon Tahini Sauce

Spice-Infused Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Cheese or Lemon Tahini Sauce

Serves: 6
Spice-Infused Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Cheese or Tahini

Whipped cheese....or you can make the Lemon Tahini Sauce for lower cal option (also below)

I quickly tore this recipe out of Bon Appetit, without even glancing at the ingredients or method of cooking, based on the picture alone. It originates from a fabulous New Orleans restaurant, Domenica, of the famed Besh restaurant group. The picture looked that great. Then, like too often in this hectic life, it was filed away under “someday”. Today was that day. Good thing for me cauliflower is pretty much available year round. Now I have done it….twice actually and soon to be three or four more times.
Cauliflower as art!
I have been a huge fan of roasted cauliflower ever since I first tried it. There is just something about roasted cauliflower…roasting it takes something that is pretty boring and transforms it into something that is extraordinary. Even in its simplest form as posted July 23, 2012 – Oven Roasted Cauliflower – it is ridiculously addictive. ( I could easily chow down on a bowl of it rather than popcorn while watching a movie. Really. So it comes to the only real question, why stop with olive oil, salt and pepper when you could add any number of flavors or seasonings? The basic idea is to precook in a seasoned flavor-packed poaching liquid, which infuses it with flavor, roast it and then serve it alone or a myriad of sauces. On this culinary trip, I made a whipped cheese sauce.

2½ C dry white wine
½ C olive oil, divided
¼ C kosher salt
3 Tb fresh lemon juice
2 Tb unsalted butter
1 Tb crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tb sugar
1 bay leaf
8 C water
1 large head cauliflower, leaves removed
2 oz. fresh goat cheese
1½ oz. cream cheese
1½ oz. feta cheese
¼ C heavy cream
Coarse sea salt for serving

Preheat oven to 475 degree F. Bring wine, 1/3 C olive oil, kosher salt, lemon juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf and 8 C water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
Cauliflower after boiling
Using two slotted spoons, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet or pan, draining well. Roast the cauliflower, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.
Cheeses for the cauliflower...soon to be whipped
While cauliflower is roasting, blend goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, heavy cream and 2 Tb olive oil in a food processor until smooth; season with sea salt. Transfer whipped cheese to a serving bowl. Whipped cheese can be made 1 day ahead. Cover. Chill. Serve at room temperature.  Drizzle with olive oil just before serving.
Lemon Tahini Sauce

Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with whipped cheese and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

The cauliflower is wonderful alone. But if looking for alternatives, try a sprinkling of zatar with yogurt, or cheddar cheese sauce, or mixture of yogurt and feta. Wouldn’t this be great with a Thai peanut sauce!?!

I am particularly found of tahini – and I committed in earlier blogs to bring more uses for tahini to you. Try this with roasted cauliflower.  Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Saut√© 2 tsp garlic in the oil 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in 3 Tb tahini, 3Tb fresh lemon juice, or more to taste, 6 Tb water and salt (to taste). Simmer over low heat 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, put thru a blender if you need to smooth it out, sprinkle with chopped parsley and toasted sesame seeds and serve alongside cauliflower. Look for another tahini recipe: Roasted eggplant with Goat cheese, tahini & pine nuts (

However you serve the whole roasted cauliflower, it will delight you and your guests.

Bon Appetit!


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