Roasted cauliflower with parmesan and olives

Inspired by Jim Lahey of NYC’s Sullivan Street Bakery, this roasted cauliflower makes a wonderful pizza, pasta or side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup green olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Italian flat-leaf parsley, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove leaves and cut stem of cauliflower. Rinse well and shake off excess water.
  3. Place head of cauliflower upright on large cutting board. Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Don’t worry if the slices fall apart.
  4. Place sliced cauliflower in large mixing bowl. Season well with olive oil, salt, black pepper and/or crushed red pepper. Stir to mix well and taste to check seasoning.
  5. Add chopped garlic, Parmesan and olives. Mix well.
  6. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread cauliflower mixture evenly.
  7. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until cauliflower is well-roasted and edges start to brown.
  8. Serve with a sprinkle of additional Parmesan, minced parsley and/or flaky Kosher or sea salt.

Notes

  • Roasting and seasoning well are the keys to this dish – cauliflower should have a concentrated, roasted flavor. If it tastes merely cooked, not roasted, bake for a few more minutes some edges are very brown. If it seems dry, add another drizzle of olive oil. And if it tastes bland, sprinkle on a bit more salt.
  • If you overload your baking sheet, cauliflower below the top layer gets more steamed than roasted. In this case, keep an eye on the baking sheet and stir the cauliflower when the top gets browned. It may take a few rounds of this to get all the cauliflower nicely roasted.
  • For cauliflower pizza, try to cut cauliflower as thin as possible (Lahey recommends using a mandoline). Spread cauliflower mixture over thinly rolled pizza dough and bake until cauliflower begins to brown. Pile the cauliflower generously, as it cooks down during baking.
  • For cauliflower pasta, cook pasta in a generous amount of salted water to al dente, reserving a cup of the cooking water. Toss drained hot pasta with roasted cauliflower and add a bit of pasta water (you can also use chicken stock, cream, even a knob of cream cheese). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, additional Parmesan and/or a sprinkling of minced parsley.
  • For a heartier dish, sprinkle chopped or slivered almonds (even better toasted) over the cauliflower before serving. Fresh toasted breadcrumbs are also wonderful.

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