Quick-Roasted Cauliflower with Zesty Orange-Olive Dressing

On all the relish trays I've ever seen, cauliflower is the the last thing to go.  And usually the relish tray is the last thing to go when there are other options, making raw cauliflower the worst of the worst.  But wait, it doesn't have to be like that!  I approached this recipe with caution, but a quick brush with the oven sweetened and deepened the cauliflower flavor into something tasty.

I think I was right to be wary of the "zesty orange-olive dressing," though.  All those competing flavors hid the roasted cauliflower instead of enhancing it.  We liked a little heat from the crushed red pepper flakes, so if I make this dish again, I’ll leave out the headlining orange and the olives from the dressing, and just focus in on the zesty: garlic oil, red wine vinegar, chile and parsley.   

If you're looking for a simpler preparation for cauliflower, serve the roasted cauliflower plain, or even rescue a prepared veggie tray by roasting the broccoli, carrots, tomatoes and cauliflower.  Genius.

To roast the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 450, and separate one head of cauliflower into florets.  Cut all but the smallest florets in half, and toss the cauliflower with olive oil and kosher salt.  You’ll get maximum browning if you arrange the cauliflower cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Roast for about twenty minutes.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a garlic clove in olive oil for a few minutes, then stir in the crushed red pepper flakes.  If you are brave, also stir in orange zest and chopped olives.  Mix this with red wine vinegar, and again for the brave, orange juice, sugar and salt, and toss with the roasted cauliflower florets.

Toss the vegetables with the dressing and chopped parsley

Quick-Roasted Cauliflower with Zesty Orange-Olive Dressing
from Susie Middleton's Fast, Fresh and Green

Roasted Cauliflower:
1 small head of cauliflower, trimmed into halved florets
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt

Orange-Olive Dressing:
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and halved
2 pinches of red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
3 finely chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tsp. red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1.  Toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil and salt, and arrange cut side down on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Roast in a 475 oven until the sides begin to brown, about twenty minutes.

2.  To make the orange-olive dressing, warm the garlic in the olive oil in a small saucepan until very fragrant, about five minutes.  Your goal is to flavor the oil, not to brown the garlic.  Remove the garlic and stir in the red pepper, zest, and olives.  Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the remaining dressing ingredients.

3.  Pour the dressing over the slightly cooled cauliflower in a bowl, and stir gently.

This is the fifth recipe I've made from Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton.  I like this cookbook so much that I am cooking my way through all the recipes.  I am also totally charmed by Sue's online home, Six Burner Sue, where you can find her hard at work running a vegetable farm on Martha's Vineyard and developing recipes for a second cookbook that will be called Fresh & Green for Dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ella!
    Just wanted to say so glad you're enjoying the book and the blog, too! Happy cooking, Susie (aka sixburnersue!)


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