If you go by the “eating seasonally” thing, which I am trying to do, now is the time for what I think of as “hard” vegetables – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turnips and cauliflower. And my preferred method for preparing these vegetables is roasting. It’s easy and it brings out the best in their flavor.
I think these “stinky” vegetables have gotten a bad reputation over the years because the most popular method of fixing them is boiling. And they do, indeed, emit a stinky odor when you boil them. Not to mention the mushy factor if you leave them on the stove too long. But with roasting, you don’t get stinky and you do get all the lovely, crunchy brown bits that taste so good.
Now here’s an interesting little tidbit for you. Cauliflower is part of the cabbage family but it’s actually the flower of the plant. Growers “mutate it” (my technical term) by extending the period in which the stalk itself grows and then wrapping the leaves of the plant around the flower to keep it white. I learned this, by the way, from Harold McGee’s fine book, On Food and Cooking, which I consult at every opportunity because it makes me feel smarter in every way.
So, here you go. I’m also pretty happy with the idea of the crushed croutons, which I devised when I ended up with leftover croutons that I was afraid I’d never use. Frugal is as frugal does.
Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Raisins
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup crushed garlic croutons
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and lay them on a rimmed baking sheet covered in foil. Coat them in the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is beginning to brown.
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat until they turn golden. When cauliflower is done, add the vinegar, pine nuts, raisins and mix thoroughly. Top with the crushed croutons.