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Roasted Cauliflower with Spiced Breadcrumbs

Rural Intelligence Food
 Amy Cotler, author of The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food (Storey Publishing), says her husband who doesn’t like cauliflower loved this recipes. “I cut it into steak-like slabs, roasted until slightly brown to bring out its nutty flavor, then topped it with spiced breadcrumbs, though croutons are another option,” she says.  “Dense heads of the freshest local cauliflower are plentiful now at farmers markets, farm stands, co-ops, CSAs and even some supermarkets—just ask.” The recipe can easily be adapted for a larger head of cauliflower (and a larger number of diners.)
Roasted Cauliflower with Spiced Breadcrumbs

Rural Intelligence FoodServes 3-4 side dishes

1 small head of cauliflower, about 1-1/4 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 very generous pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1 slice of whole wheat bread, torn in half
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Core the cauliflower, removing less rather than more, so it doesn’t fall apart. Slice it into 3/4-1 inch slabs. (If you’d rather do florets, they work well, too.)

3. Lay the slabs on a baking sheet. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil, using about 1 tablespoon total. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Roast until slightly browned and soft but not mushy, about 25 minutes or so. It should get nut brown.

4. About 5 minutes before the cauliflower is ready, prepare the breadcrumbs (or croutons). Combine the cumin, coriander, cayenne and up to 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste in a small bowl. Set aside. Pulse the bread in the food processor into coarse breadcrumbs.  Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the crumbs,and stir constantly until crisp, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the combined spices and stir briefly, just to toast them. Remove to bowl to prevent burning. (If you’ve burned any of the smaller crumbs, leave them behind!)

5. Shingle the roasted cauliflower slices on a warm serving plate, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with the spiced breadcrumbs, and then the cilantro, if you are using it. Serve immediately.

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 10/28/09 at 07:01 AM • Permalink