Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Cauliflower shines when roasted: it becomes caramelized and nutty. In this dish, it is poached in a flavorful liquid first, then baked and roasted to seal a crunch. The broth is super flavorful (don’t throw it out!!! See note), so much so that you could skip the sauce and eat it as is.
The sauce is goat and feta cheese based and is creamy and delicious. It takes very well to fresh herbs, like mint or dill, so add away. Feel free to swap out one (or both) of the cheeses for your favorite creamy cheese, although I favor non-lactose cheeses not just for the taste but are also slightly better for you than the lactose counterparts. It is a great way to use that awkwardly sized leftover cheese that has been sitting in your fridge since that dinner party… I once made it without feta and added roquefort instead and it was delicious and zing-y.
3 cups of dry white wine (a Sauvignon Blanc, like Sancerre, works great) 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup kosher salt 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 bay leaves 1 head of cauliflower, leaves cut off (keep the leaves) zest of one lemon (for serving) drizzle of olive oil (for serving) Cheese Whipped Sauce: 4 ounces fresh goat cheese (1/2 cup) 4 ounces feta (1/2 cup) 1 cup greek yogurt 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (optional) coarse sea salt (for serving)
Preheat oven to 475°F.
Bring wine, oil, salt, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, cut off cauliflower leaves, and 7 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat and poach, simmering and turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
Using 2 slotted spoons or a mesh spider, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet, draining well. Brush the entire cauliflower with olive oil and roast it, rotating the sheet halfway through, until brown all over (30-40 minutes). Right before serving it, if desired, set oven to broil and brown for 3 or so minutes.
Meanwhile, blend greek yogurt, goat cheese, feta, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor, blender or hand held blender, until smooth. Season with freshly grated himalayan sea salt (I favor pink). Transfer whipped goat cheese to a serving bowl and drizzle with oil, and some lemon zest.
Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Grate lemon zest on the cauliflower and the plate, drizzle with some olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt or madon salt flakes. Serve with whipped goat cheese on the side.
Broth Note: the broth, while salty, is a flavor bomb - don’t throw it out! I typically use it during the same meal and cook quinoa or any other grain, as a side dish. Counteract the salt with sweetness (i.e. dried cranberries, or fresh fruit), and fresh herbs, like mint.