One of my favorite vegetables has always been the cauliflower, but I went without it for several years in a row when my husband Morgan claimed he couldn’t stand the stuff. Bolstered in my recent success in converting him to the fine art of eating Brussels sprouts, however, I decided that I could live without cauliflower in my life no longer, and resolved to find a way to cook it that would win Morgan over. With the Brussels sprouts, the trick had been roasting, so I decided to start there. The challenge would be flavoring the cauliflower in such a way that significantly changed its bland nature.
The spice blend of coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper that we used in this drew its inspiration from several of the main spices that are used in Garam Masala. This blend turned out to be an excellent choice, enhancing the bland cauliflower beautifully. Roasting gave the cauliflower a wonderfully crispy texture on the outside while still remaining soft and creamy on the inside. Most importantly Morgan became a cauliflower convert, admitting that his vehement opposition to the vegetable was misplaced.
Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Coriander, Cardamom, Nutmeg, and Cumin
serves six as a side
- 1 dried cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 large sweet onion
- salt to taste
1. Chop the cayenne pepper finely and then crush it finely with a mortar and pestle. Add the ground coriander, ground cardamom, ground nutmeg, ground cumin, and ground black pepper to the cayenne in the mortar and crush together further, mixing well. (Do not add the salt yet! It has to be added after cooking, or it would dry out the vegetables). Pour this spice mixture into the olive oil (in a small container). Mix together well. Let sit for at least half an hour.
2. Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).
3. Meanwhile, wash the cauliflower, then cut it into individual bite-sized florets. Skin the onion and chop it coarsely. Put all of this into a very large bowl, then pour the spice and oil mixture over it. Toss until well mixed. Spread all of this over a large baking sheet.
4. Once the oven is preheated, put in the cauliflower and roast it, stirring after about 20 minutes then returning to the oven. Leave the cauliflower to roast until it is tender and the onions have turned translucent. This will take about a half an hour total. Pull the baking sheet out when the cauliflower is done. Salt to taste and serve. Enjoy!