Boiled or steamed, cauliflower sometimes gets a bad rap for its mushy texture and faintly off-putting aroma. Roasting it, especially with herbs or spices, injects some much-needed vigor and crunch, producing a side dish or appetizer with a pleasantly nutty taste and satisfying crispness.
Things You'll Need
Rinse a large head of cauliflower under cold running water to remove dirt, and cut away leaves near the stalk.
Cut the head into florets with a small knife and arrange them in a single layer on a baking tray.
Drizzle the florets in olive oil and season with salt and pepper, shaking and tossing to fully season the florets.
Place the tray in an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roast the cauliflower for 25 to 30 minutes, shaking and turning occasionally to make sure the florets are evenly crisped.
Remove the tray from the oven when the florets appear singed, checking that the stalks are tender by testing them with the knife. The blade should slide into the stalks easily.
Squeeze lemon juice over the florets and serve.
Tasty Floret Flourishes
Blanch cauliflower florets for a few minutes in a pot of boiling salted water to remove any traces of bitterness.
Drain the florets in a colander and shake off the excess water to leave the florets as dry as possible for a crisp finish in the oven.
Grind about a teaspoonful of coriander seeds in a spice mill, electric grinder, or mortar and pestle.
Transfer the florets to a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, and toss with the ground coriander, cumin, salt and pepper so that the seasoning is distributed evenly and the cauliflower florets are one-layer deep only. Alternatively, replace the spices with chopped onion, a few sprigs of thyme, garlic cloves and olive oil for a herby, aromatic version.
Place the baking tray in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven and bake for 20 minutes until the florets start to brown.
Remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle the cauliflower liberally with Parmesan cheese, then return the tray to the oven for a final 10 minutes. Once the cheese develops into a crust, remove the tray from the oven and serve.
Soften up cauliflower that is a little too crunchy out of the oven by covering it with aluminum foil and allowing it to rest for five minutes.
References and ResourcesFood and Wine: Oven-roasted Cauliflower Florets
Jamie Oliver: Roasted Cauliflower with cumin, coriander and almonds
Epicurious: Roasted Cauliflower
Bon Appetit: Parmesan-roasted Cauliflower