Tuesday, April 2, 2013

the cooking challenge (week 9): roasted cauliflower with kalamata olive vinaigrette

Driving up to Vermont this past weekend was like traveling back in time, leaving spring in Philadelphia

for the dull, gray dregs of winter farther north. This post is a time traveler, too—I’m just now telling you about the recipe I made in Week 9 of this cooking challenge/year, when it was still cold and gloomy everywhere. When cranking up the oven to roast vegetables was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon: warm and indoors. This is a wintry dish, to be sure: cauliflower sliced thick like a steak, roasted in that hot oven, and slathered in a savory dressing. But I hear it snowed this morning in Vermont, it’s awfully blustery here in Philly, and even Hawaii is experiencing record low temperatures, so getting cozy with a cruciferous vegetable doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, and this is a delicious way to do it.


The recipe calls for cutting a crown of cauliflower into slabs, which makes for a more dramatic presentation,

but I've made this with florets, too, and it was just as good. It’s the combination of roasting and dressing that’s key: The vegetable becomes tender, crispy at the edges, and wonderfully nutty in the heat; the dressing is salty, slightly acidic, slick. It’s so good, and easy, I’ll definitely take it with me into the future, eating it on these spring days that pose as winter, again next fall when the days grow short and the nights cold, and on into next year…it's a keeper.


Roasted Cauliflower With Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette
Adapted from Gourmet

1 (2 1/2-to 3-pound) head cauliflower
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small garlic clove
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.

2. Cut cauliflower lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Place in a large, four-sided sheet pan and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast, turning once or twice, until golden and just tender, about 25 minutes.

3. While the cauliflower roasts, mince and mash the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then whisk together with lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, olives, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Serve cauliflower drizzled with Kalamata vinaigrette.


  1. Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole's Chatter is collecting links to dishes using cauliflower and/or cabbage. I do hope you link this in. This is the link . It would be great if you checked out some of the other links – there are lots of good ones already. Cheers

  2. I'm not sure even you can make cauliflower seem glamorous although that last picture comes close, my lovely blog mistress. When I come down there in TWO weeks will you make me a dealer's choice from the blog??