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The humble cauliflower should be at the top of your shopping list right now. Coming in anywhere from $1-$3 for a whole head, it makes eating a very cheap and very nutritious affair.
Yes, poor cauli was bastardised during the ’70s, ‘80s, and early ’90s – over-boiled as a form of torture, becoming a bland and texturally devoid vegetable that was more a test of spirit and fortitude than part of a meal.
But now, we are embracing the glorious cauliflower and all the wondrous ways you can call it dinner. Here are five roast-toasty ideas to make the most of the cauli glut.
Trim a cauliflower and cut into even-sized steaks. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and pop in a 190C fan-forced oven (210C conventional) for 30 minutes or until golden and crisp.
While the cauliflower is roasting, place a saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of ’njuda (spreadable salami), and cook until the oil turns orange as the sausage cooks.
Throw in a 400g can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and basil) and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. Let the sauce simmer while the cauliflower roasts.
Pull the tray from the oven, top each steak with 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce. Top each with a generous slice of mozzarella (or a combo of mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan). Pop under the grill for 5 minutes, or until the cheesy top is melted and bubbling. Season and serve.
Easy cheesy cauliflower
Break a cauliflower into florets, spread on a roasting tray lined with baking paper and drizzle over a few tablespoons of olive oil and an excellent heft (about 1 cup) of grated parmesan and, using your hands, give it a good toss to coat. Blast in a 190C fan-forced oven (210C conventional) until crisp and golden, between 20–35 minutes.
For the final 10 minutes of cooking, spoon over 3-4 tablespoons of capers and continue to cook, so they become lovely and crisp.
Slide the lot into a bowl and give it a generous seasoning. Pour a wine. Dinner is done.
Middle Eastern cauli with creamy labne
Chop a cauliflower into florets. Add to a bowl with the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of saffron threads. Toss to coat. Spread over a baking tray and roast in 190C fan-forced oven (210C conventional) for 20–30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
Place a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, ¼ cup chopped raisins and ¼ cup flaked almonds. Toast, until the nuts are lovely and golden, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
Smear the bottom of a plate with some labne. Top with the cauliflower, almond and raisin mixture. Scatter over some coriander or parsley if you have on hand. Serve.
Add the florets of 1 cauliflower plus 2 sliced red onions, 1 tablespoon of curry powder and ¼ cup olive oil to a bowl. Toss to coat. Roast in a 180C fan-forced oven (200C conventional) until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes.
While the cauliflower is roasting, make a curry-spiced dressing by adding 1 bunch roughly chopped coriander, 2 teaspoons of curry powder, 1 cup cashews, the juice and zest of 1 lime, ¼ cup water and ½ cup olive oil to a blender. Blitz to a thick sauce.
Serve cauliflower and onion mixture atop bowls of piping-hot rice and drizzle over the coriander curry sauce to taste. Some naan and spicy mango relish would be great partners here.
Sweet and sticky cauli
Chop a cauliflower into small florets. Spread on a tray and shove in a 190C fan-forced oven (210C conventional) for 20 minutes.
Towards the end of the roasting time, take a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of finely grated lemongrass, 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, ½ cup hoisin sauce and ¼ cup orange juice. Place over low heat and cook until glossy, and it has reduced slightly.
Add the roasted cauliflower to the saucepan and cook until sticky and coated, about 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent catching. Serve topped with crispy fried shallots, coriander leaves and sliced spring onion.
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