Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower
As sexy as Jamie Oliver is (that accent- and he cooks!), I don't follow his Instagram for the selfies. His feed is regularly updated (by I'm sure not him) with delicious food photos and recipe inspiration, and often times he posts vegetarian & vegan recipes. I had seen his Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipe as an meat-free alternative to a roast around the holidays and was totally intrigued. I already love cauliflower, and after I tried it- I fell in love. A whole head of cauliflower is rarely more than $2, and the rest of the ingredients I had on hand. Plus, its a pretty guilt-free, set-it-and-forget-it meal...which is what I'm all about. And while Jamie's recipe was delicious, mine is better.
I mean it! Okay, maybe I'm biased, but I think that using romanesco here steps the whole dish up a notch. Not only is it the most gorgeous and mathematically-pleasing vegetable, but it has such a great buttery flavor all on its own that it really adds depth and flavor to a pretty simple dish. We love smoked paprika, and I think the lemon and sherry round out the spicy, smoky flavors nicely. Its an easy dish to make on a busy night as a main dish or side, and is super customizable. Don't have smoked paprika? Try cumin & cayenne or curry & turmeric! Either way, run down to the farmers market and get a head of this gorgeous cauliflower while its still in season- you won't regret it.
1 large head romanesco cauliflower
1/4 cup liquid coconut or olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 whole lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper
1/2 cup dry sherry
fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim the washed cauliflower leaves and cut the stem, if necessary, so that cauliflower stands upright in a dutch oven or heavy cast-iron pan (with a lid). Place the cauliflower in the pan, and use a sharp knife to carve a 1 in. deep X into the top of the cauliflower.
In a small bowl, combine oil with diced onions, minced garlic, lemon juice, spices, salt & pepper. Pour over the cauliflower, slightly pulling the X apart so the oil can seep into the middle. Try to evenly coat the cauliflower (no need to flip it over). Pour sherry lightly over the whole thing, then cover the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork-tender, then remove the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro or parsley. Serves 4, leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated for up to a week. Enjoy!