Whole Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower
Yield: 4-6 servings
A whole roasted head of cauliflower is delicious AND impressive. It can also be easy and relatively quick thanks to a helpful shortcut. You may also use the basic technique, replacing the Parmesan mixture with a light coating of olive oil and simple seasonings and serve with a dip of choice.


Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 1½ pounds*)
  • ¼ cup water
  •  ¼ cup (52g) mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped chives (may omit if you don’t have any)
  • Kosher salt, pepper, and paprika (smoked or regular)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  2. Slice the bottom of the cauliflower to make a flat base. You may cut off some of the tough core, but feel free to leave any leaves, as they will soften, and the thinner edges will become crispy.
  3. Place the cauliflower in a shallow microwave-safe baking dish. (I use pie plate.) Add the water to the dish and microwave on high for 8 minutes. Drain well. (Helpful hints: check around the 6-minute mark. If your microwave is very high-powered or your cauliflower head is on the small side, it may be ready sooner. The idea is to par-cook the cauliflower so that it roasts through more efficiently in the oven while maintaining good texture. After microwaving, you want it to feel like it’s beginning to cook but is not soft on the outside. If you don’t have a microwave, you could replicate this process by steaming in a large pot on the stove. When in doubt, better to slightly undercook at this point because you can always add a few more minutes to the roasting time.)
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, and chives.
  5. Cover the head of the cauliflower with the mayonnaise mixture, making sure to spread all the way down to the florets on the bottom. Lightly sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika over the surface of the cauliflower. You can flip the cauliflower over, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on the underside and into the crevices, too.
  6. Transfer the cauliflower to a lightly oiled cast iron skillet (another oven-proof skillet or baking sheet may be used), place in the oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown. (Helpful hint: the tip of a sharp knife should slide into the cauliflower with little resistance all the way to the core.)
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Notes

*If your head of cauliflower is a good bit larger, I recommend making 1½ times the Parmesan-mayo mixture to ensure enough to coat the whole head and extending the baking time as needed. Alternatively, you could microwave an additional minute or two.


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