Wednesday, March 12, 2008

procrastination cauliflower

What to do when I have hours of writing and work ahead of me?

Decide to roast a head of cauliflower and two heads of garlic, of course.

This didn't come out how I planned (I wanted something somewhat firm and slightly caramelized), partially because I left the pan covered with foil too long in the oven, and partially because my housemates shut the oven off in the middle of cooking, probably because no one expects the oven to be on at midnight. The resulting cauliflower was still delicious but soft, and to exploit this, I'm eating some of the leftovers lightly mashed with a fork for lunch. This tastes nothing like mashed potatoes but is much more flavorful and little healthier. I could envision different herbs, spices or cheeses incorporated, but I like the simplicity of this preparation. This recipe is ridiculously easy and makes an often hated vegetable incredibly palatable. Plus, garlic is really good for you and this recipe has around fifteen cloves of it.

procrastination cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and rinsed
2 heads of garlic
olive oil
sea salt
(freshly ground) black pepper
pecorino, or some other hard grating cheese

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large baking dish (I used 13x9 Pyrex, I do wonder whether metal would improve caramelization) Pour a little olive oil into the bottom of the pan and spread it around. Toss the florets of cauliflower in the oil so that most have a light coating (do the oil to taste, I like to air on the side of caution with only a couple of tablespoons). Cut off the tops of the garlic heads so that all of the cloves inside are exposed. Don't be too precious about losing garlic--there will be plenty. In fact, if you don't love garlic as much as I do, you might want to use just one head. Put the exposed heads in the pan, nestling them in with the florets. Add a little more olive oil right into the open heads of garlic to prevent burning, and then salt and pepper the whole pan, and don't be shy. Cover with foil and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, until the cauliflower is the texture you prefer. Now pluck those open heads of garlic out of the pan, they are full of one of the most delicious substances known to man: roasted garlic. Pop the cloves out by squeezing the head. If you are smarter than me you will let them cool slightly first. Mash the cloves with fork and toss thoroughly with the roasted cauliflower. Top the whole mess with grated pecorino and pop back into the over for a few minutes, uncovered, to melt the cheese. Eat.

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