While rice makes a perfect “sponge” for the flavorful tomato-based sauce of the easy slow cooker chicken tikka masala I shared last week (click here for that recipe), I often serve it over a bed of roasted cauliflower instead. If you like this idea, the following recipe is a perfect companion; simply skip the blue cheese and rosemary.
For serving alongside basic baked chicken or grilled steak, the addition of blue cheese, which becomes gooey and delicious after a brief broil, makes an especially worthy side dish. I think the key to great tasting roasted vegetables of any kind is to place the cut sides down on a well-oiled pan and roast at a high heat without turning. This way, the hot surface of the baking sheet caramelizes the bottoms of the veggies while keeping them crisp-tender.
I hit upon the following method of cutting the cauliflower when in a hurry one night. In addition to being quick, the flat sides allow for maximum contact with the surface of the baking sheet and, therefore, more of the golden brown crustiness that tastes so good. You may certainly cut into florets instead.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 ½ pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced (may substitute dry, see note)
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (you may “eyeball” this, to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the cauliflower crosswise (from top to bottom) into 1/2-3/4-inch thick slices, removing and discarding the leaves and stem. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch thick wedges.
- Lay the vegetables on a very well oiled baking sheet in a single layer, arranging so that the flat, cut sides are touching the pan.
- Spritz or brush with a light coating of olive oil. You need just enough to make the seasoning stick. Then, sprinkle with the rosemary, salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Using a spatula, I like to peek underneath the vegetables after 15 minutes or so to make sure they are not browning too quickly. (All ovens vary somewhat. If the veggies are sufficiently browned but still too firm for your taste, toss and continue baking, checking in 5-minute increments. )
- When just cooked, remove vegetables from the oven, and switch to the broil setting. Sprinkle with the blue cheese and broil, watching very closely, for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tops of the veggies are golden brown.
- When substituting dry for fresh herbs, I typically use 1/3 the amount of dry as I would use fresh. Fresh rosemary is one of the more pungent herbs, but I think it loses some of its potency when dried. So, in this recipe I use a similar amount, whether fresh or dry.