It was an awkward realization last night I realized I had just eaten an entire batch of this Spicy Roasted Cauliflower. Again. I couldn’t help but wonder: when cauliflower got to be so damn good?
I made three batches of this stuff in one week, serving it up as a side dish with just about everything I made all week long. Whatever wasn’t consumed immediately was nibbled up as a snack the following day. It even found its way into my salads and as extra filling for an egg burrito ( with some simple scramble.)
This over the top cauliflower consumption begs the question: when did I start liking cauliflower so much?
I didn’t always feel this way about this cruciferous candy. The cauliflower I remember was that cardboardy packing material type stuff I would pick out of the Birdseye mixed vegetable medley that passed for a balanced meal back in the day. Open a bag from the freezer, measure out the desired amount, steam it in a puddle of water and voila. Easy right? Sadly, the the world would not have its vegetable roasting epiphany for another decade.
And so it would often take a stubborn and usually lengthy negotiation with my mother to get me to the other side of a successful dinner hour when cauliflower was served.
“Well…if you eat all of the broccoli and carrots without any more complaining – then you can get up from the table and watch tv.”
To my young mind cauliflower was the anemic (and possibly poisonous) cousin to the slightly more tolerable broccoli spear. Truth be told, I wasn’t mad for those either but I learned eventually that with a good amount of butter and salt most other vegetables could at least be tolerated. But not cauliflower. T hose pallid, spiritless veggie clods, resembling ill-formed brains more than food, didn’t even look fit for human consumption.
So I didn’t consume them for a very long time.
I have no actual memory of going through “the change” but clearly either I had changed or the cauliflower had. I am aware there is some science to the thought that it was only a matter of time before my tastebuds caught up to what was going to be an eventual attraction to the more bitter tastes, like cauliflower. Then again, maybe steaming was the culprit? Does anything really taste good steamed?
The arguments for genetics or nurture aside I do know that right now I can’t get enough of t his Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Sriracha and Sesame . As far as foods go its pretty much a worry-free obsession given the many health benefits of cauliflower. If you are interested my friend Helen Nichols runs through twenty eight science backed health benefits to eating cauliflower in her article at Well-Being Secrets. Check it out and then make up a batch of this spicy roasted cauliflower to cure what ails you!
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Sriracha & Sesame
I stumbled across the recipe a few months ago while going through every last page of Todd Porter and Diane Cu’s colorful cookbook “Bountiful” . It is one of my favorite cookbooks from last year and while I’ve made quite a few things from it so far it is this easy to make side that graces my table at least weekly since the book’s debut.
This is not your Birdseye Vegetable Medley Cauliflower.
This recipe is found in Diane Cu and Todd Porter's wonderful book "Bountiful" . If you find yourself in a full on Sriracha famine don't worry about it. The White On Rice Couple have an easy recipe here that you can use to make your own. Knowing them I can guarantee its going to be way better than anything you can buy.
This is what you will need:
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3/4 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small, uniformed florets
- handful of minced cilantro
This is how you make it:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Line a sheet pan with a piece of parchment or tin foil or you can spread a very think layer of olive oil over the pan surface.
- Combine all ingredients except the cauliflower and cilantro into a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
- Add the cauliflower florets to the bowl and toss gently until well coated. I prefer to use clean hands to do this so I don't break apart the florets while thoroughly coating them.
- Arrange the florets in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. With a spatula or tongs turn the cauliflower and roast for 10 more minutes or until tender.I think they are at their best when they are slightly browned at the edges. (A one minute run under the broiler is a nice finish in my opinion.)
- Remove florets to a bowl or platter and garnish with a dusting of cilantro.
It might be a good idea to double this recipe as there won't be any left overs to snack on unless you do.