Wednesday, December 14, 2022

ChezCindy: Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Browned Butter Sauce


Roasting a whole head of cauliflower for dinner can present a dramatic moment equal to serving a whole roasted chicken.  Each are browned and gorgeous in their own way.  You can even "carve' the cauliflower at the dinner table as you would the roast chicken.  

The cauliflower is smeared with a mayonnaise-mustard mixture, giving it fantastic flavor, as well as yielding the beautiful bronzing.  I like the contrast of textures gained by adding toasted walnuts to the browned butter, offering great crunch against the soft flesh of the vegetable.  The cauliflower can be served as a side dish, or as the main dish with a side of orzo pasta or rice.  

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Walnut & Capers Browned Butter Sauce
1 medium head cauliflower, about 2-pounds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons capers, drained

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with foil.   

Trim the stem end of the cauliflower, removing the leaves.  Using a paring knife, carefully cut out the core, no more than 2-inches, keeping the whole head intact.  Season the cauliflower with salt, placing it onto the prepared sheet pan.  Tightly cover the whole head with a large piece of foil.  Roast the cauliflower for about 30 minutes.  It will only be partially cooked.  Remove the foil.  Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and thyme leaves.  Spread the mixture onto the partially cooked cauliflower, coating it entirely.  Return the sheet pan to the oven, roasting for another 25-30 minutes until evenly browned and tender when pierced with a fork.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

In an 8-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, swirling and stirring until the butter is slightly browned.  Off the heat, add in the chopped toasted walnuts and capers, stirring to combine.  

Cut the cauliflower into large wedges, serve with the browned butter sauce spooned over the top.