Meet my new favorite obsession.
I realize, of course, that “favorite” obsession implies that I have many of them, and that fact probably makes me sound excessive and/or contradictory. Typical. The list of obsessions includes (but is not limited to, no, no, no): tahini (see these cookies), miso, cauliflower, broccoli, anything Indian-spiced, and chocolate. Oh, and no-churn ice cream, preferably with a blueberry component.
Whatever, as Walt Whitman cheerfully pointed out in “Song of Myself”: “Do I contradict myself? /Very well then I contradict myself, /(I am large, I contain multitudes.)” Let me tell you, this cauliflower is definitely worthy of obsession, contradiction, and excess. The recipe comes via Sydney, author of the fabulously-named The Crepes of Wrath, who got it from none other than the inimitable Anthony Bourdain. The latter clearly knows his way around world cuisine, but as it turns out, he is also no slouch in the cauliflower cooking department. *swoon* His recipe produces a dish that is like the crack of the vegetable world; I’ve made this cauliflower at least four times in three weeks–and gasp! one of those times, I made a double batch and consumed it in three days–and I’m not showing any signs of slowing down.
If you’ve been aware of the cauliflower craze but, like me, have been hesitant to jump on board with the cauliflower pizza crust (whywhywhy?) or cauliflower rice (steamed cauliflower, blech, and, yes, I clearly need to turn my attention to opinion-forming studies), just let me say that roasted cauliflower is worth trying and obsessing over. Minimally tossing cauliflower with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then exposing to high heat until browned and charred turns an otherwise crisp but bland vegetable into nutty, heavenly-smelling and -tasting dish that is seriously addicting on its own. This iteration ups the ante even further by first dusting the florets with Italian-inspired herbs–bright, sharp coriander and earthy, herby oregano–and roasting. The florets emerge from the oven, charred around the edges, sweet and nutty-smelling and tasting so good that on more than occasion, I have found myself
shoveling in my maw nibbling at the “smaller” florets and charred bits at the edge of the pan. Uh-huh, sure.
The cauliflower that is fortunate enough to avoid my maw is tossed in a deceptively plain sauce that marries the faint bitterness of tahini, the salty umami of miso, and the bright punch of white wine vinegar. A sprinkling of sesame seeds and red pepper flakes round the dish out with crunch and spicy zip. At this point, I abandon all pretense of consuming in moderation and get to the eating, usually sans utensils right off the cookie sheet.
Humanly impossible to resist. Yep.