I know, I know, it’s boring of me to feature two roasted vegetables in a row, both cruciferous, from the same cookbook. But California cuisine guru Travis Lett has a genius for both roasting and vegetables, and if I don’t etch this into my virtual memory now, it may be long gone from my actual memory by the time next cauliflower season rolls around.
Lett writes that this warm roasted cauliflower, dressed with garlic, parsley, crushed red pepper and vinegar, is one of the most popular dishes at his farm-fresh, cool-kids eatery, as well as one of the easiest to make. The intersection of great and easy is where I want to live. And while we have our cast iron skillets handy from the brussels sprouts, we might as well have a go at cauliflower.
I promise after this I’m moving on. Strawberries are back at the farmers market here, and I’m feeling spring.
Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper.
I finally learned that fresh herbs are far less sticky to chop when they are perfectly dry.
Pour cauliflower into to hot pan and cook until it starts to brown.
Transfer skillet to a hot oven for a few minutes, flipping the florets and roasting a few minutes more. Roasting brings out the sweetness in vegetables, so I always err on the side of brown.
Toss with parsley, crushed red pepper and vinegar.
Serve this fresh from the oven, and you’ll find a head of cauliflower, Gjelina style, doesn’t go as far as you might think.
Roasted Cauliflower Gjelina
One the restaurant’s most popular dishes, it’s also among the easiest to make at home. Adapted from Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California.
- 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
- 1/4-1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (less for smaller head of cauliflower)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal or 3/4 teaspoon Morton; or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
- Freshly ground black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C)
- In a bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Pour the cauliflower into the hot pan and cook until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the cauliflower, undisturbed, until well seared, about 5 minutes longer. With a spatula, turn the cauliflower and cook on the other side until well seared, about 3 minutes longer.
- Remove from the oven, add the parsley, red pepper flakes and vinegar. Mix well and adjust salt, pepper and seasonings as desired.
- Transfer to a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.
- Cut larger florets in half or quarters; the flat sides sear nicely.
- If you substitute another vinegar, start with 1 tablespoon and adjust to taste.
- Preparation works as well for broccoli or romanesco.
- You can also do this entirely on the stovetop. When cauliflower starts to brown, cover the pan with a lid and turn down to low. After a few minutes, check on the cauliflower and stir. Increase the heat if the cauliflower doesn’t seem to be cooking well, or lower the heat if it is getting too charred. Cover again and cook until tender with a gentle crunch. The cauliflower turns from opaque white to off-white and slightly translucent as it cooks.
Here’s the link to a printable version.