Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Whole roasted cauliflower wih tomato broth

It is a terrible thing when the internet is exploding with tantalising recipes of whole baked cauliflower and the price shoots up to $6 per head.  So when I saw the price of cauliflowers had fallen to $1.20 a couple of weeks ago, I grabbed one.  And I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.

It was to be baked.  Well actually it was to be boiled first and then baked.  I am not confident in my oven's ability to roast vegies until they are soft inside.  Not when they are as large as a head of cauliflower.  So I eased it in to the idea but boiling the cauliflower first.  It also meant dinner came together a lot quicker.

While there are many recipes for an Indian style yoghurt paste to be rubbed over the cauliflower, I really liked Bon Apetit's idea of boiling it in a seasoned liquid.   But I preferred Jamie Oliver's tomato flavours.  Plus I have lemons and herbs in the garden which went into the mix.

I chose a rather small saucepan that just fit the cauliflower.  It didn't require as much boiling liquid as my large stockpot.  Once tender, I carefully transferred it to a roasting dish and spooned tomato over it.  I looked for a suitable serving dish and was not confident in any of my pretty dishes to withstand high oven temperatures.  So I stuck to stainless steel.
My cauliflower was soft enough that it just needed to crisp up around the edges.  After 20 minutes I thought to spray it with oil.  I think this helped.  Once cooked I found that the flavours of the seasoned liquid pretty much came through.  Which meant that I didn't need to make it quite so salty.  I think the 3 tsp of salt were too much and would reduce this to 1 to 2 tsp.  Otherwise I really liked it.

I served it with a moussaka that my mum had made for me.  The next day I had some at room temperature for lunch with crackers and hummus.  Then we finished the last bit by chopping it up and adding it to soup.

I am excited about how good the cauliflower tasted when cooked this way.  It is a nice light way to cook a side dish that is good enough to eat by itself.  The Bon Apetit recipe called for dipping the florets in a creamy goats cheese.  I am sure it would work in other dips or with other sauces too.

I still would love to try roasting the cauliflower from raw because it gives such a lovely flavour.  However I am really pleased with this for now, especially with all the flavour the broth imparts.  And I am delighted to be able to send it to Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Choclette of Tin and Thyme for their Cool Cauliflower Recipe Collection.

I am also sending the dish to Kimmy at Rock Your Vegan Socks for Healthy Vegan Fridays 49.

More cauliflower recipes at Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Buffalo cauliflower sourdough pizza with tofu blue cheese (v) 
Cauliflower burgers (gf v)
Cauliflower cheese
Cauliflower cheese sauce (gf, v)
Cauliflower, pea and parmesan polenta fingers (gf)
Cauliflower in spicy peanut gravy (gf, v)
Cauliflower rice with vegies (gf, v)
Celery, watercress and cauliflower salad (gf, v)
Cheesy cauliflower and rice soup (gf, v)
Lentil and cauliflower taco filling (gf, v) 
Macaroni cheese with sauerkraut, cauliflower and blue cheese (v)
Meaty cauliflower and walnut lasagne
Potato, cauliflower and kale pesto mash (gf, v)

And some cauliflower recipes from elsewhere:
Cauliflower and kale rice pie - SBS
Chocolate cauliflower brownies - A Travelling Cook
Chocolate cauliflower cake with salted cinnamon caramel icing - Veggie Desserts
Cottage pancakes - 101 Cookbooks
Creamy cauliflower and stilton cheese soup - Lavender and Lovage
Ottelenghi's cauliflower and cheese cake - Allotment 2 Kitchen
Spicy whole roasted cauliflower - Pure Wow

Whole roasted cauliflower with tomato broth
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe inspired by Jamie Oliver and Bon Appetit
serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 large head of cauliflower
400g tin of diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup dry sherry
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 bayleaf
5cm spig of rosemary
sprig of thyme
oil spray for roasting
chopped parsley for garnish

Trim cauliflower of greenery and wash.  Preheat oven to 240 C.

Place remaining ingredients (except oil spray and parsley) into a large saucepan that the cauliflower fits into.  (The snugger the fit of the cauliflower, the less broth is needed for cooking.  However it does make it a bit harder to maneouvre the cooked cauliflower out.)  Taste and adjust seasonings.  I found that the taste of the broth was strongly present in the final cauliflower.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until cauliflower is just tender when a skewer is pushed into the middle.

Now use large slotted spoons to carefully transfer cauliflower from the saucepan to a roasting tray or an oven proof serving dish.  Scoop a little of the tomato from the broth on top of the cauliflower.  Spray cauliflower with oil.  (Set aside the tomato broth and use as stock in soups and stews.)

Bake cauliflower for 30 minutes or until it is slightly charred.  Scatter with parsley and serve in wedges.

On the stereo:
Elastica: self titled


  1. $6 a head! What has gone wrong! I'm glad you found a cheaper one to try this with - it looks like a great way of serving cauliflower even if challenging for me with size (I might do a half head to fit in saucepan and match our needs in size!).

    1. Thanks Kari - I think it was a shortage due to unseasonal weather. I really loved having a whole head - I was happy to eat heaps on the side and had no problem in eating most of it myself - it would be great to add to salads and soups and stirfries

  2. I would never have thought of putting cauliflower with tomato - how unadventurous I now feel. I love oven roasted cauliflower, though I always break mine into florets.

    1. Thanks Anne - cauliflower and tomato are great - I had dreams of cauliflower with tomato, olives and gherkins - perhaps that will be done another day.

  3. whole cauli dishes like this appeal to me so much now, but my family are all anti-cauli. I'd have to have lots of ideas for leftovers!

    1. Thanks Faye - I think this was fairly low on calories - that was my excuse for eating a lot of it myself - I would make the whole cauliflower again because it was so good in the leftovers

  4. The prices here fluctuate too - but never ridiculous. Your right the internet is bursting with whole cauliflower recipes, I recently made a Tandoori version. I am planning to make another variation. Shame you it was a tad salty, but good that you still enjoyed it

    1. Thanks shaheen - I saw your tandoori cauliflower a while back and was interested that this was something you have made quite a lot before the internet got interested - do you bake yours from raw? I used a lot of salt in the broth because the recipe I was using seemed to have a really salty broth and I was unsure about how much it would affect the flavour - at least I know better for next time

  5. I am not sure why either but cauliflowers are SUPER expensive now too. I usually buy them when they are $1-2, max, and the regular price is $4-5, but now they are $7. Crazy. I am glad this worked out in the end. I have always worried whether it would cook all the way through but boiling would definitely help fix that. :)

    1. Thanks Janet - how interesting that you too have the cauliflower price hike! I am curious to try roasting without boiling first but I have very little faith in my oven as even with roasted cauliflower florets it can be slow

  6. I looked at these photos and they brought back childhood memories. My mother boiled then roasted whole cauliflower that my father would pick from the garden. From the garden to the pot took about an hour. Then she'd dose it with tomatoes and on the table it would go.

    One day my father said quite off the cuff, "Anne, that looks like live brains," and I stopped eating it right there and then. Nothing could make me open my mouth and eat live brains.

    My dad would say, "Maureen, I was just kidding, it's cauliflower, NOT brains." Nope, didn't eat it again until I was about 12. :)

    I haven't made this in years and this recipe is a little different from my mother's. Looks good, brains and all. xx

    1. Thanks Maureen - that is hilarious - wonder if NQN has done it for one of her Halloween parties - I think I probably would have done the same as you if someone had said it to me but luckily I know how yummy it is.

  7. It's good to see cauliflower getting a bit of love at the moment (how weird is it that a vegetable can become trendy?!) but I know what you mean about the cost - I don't want to be priced out of cauli-buying. I love the idea of bringing a whole cauliflower to the table - a proper centerpiece!

    1. Thanks Joey - it is weird that vegies can be trendy but cool too. I would love to serve this at a celebration meal or even a potluck

  8. I have been shocked at how expensive cauliflowers have been this season. But like you, there was one day when Harris Farm was selling them for less than $2.00. So I bought two. I used to always boil/steam them but I roasted them and really loved the flavour. I'll have to try your version with tomato xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - roasting cauliflower is great - I can see why you bought two but even finding room for one is often challenge enough here! And the prices of cauli has been a bit of a talking point because it is so expensive and unexpectedly so

  9. WHY have I never roasted a cauliflower? I roast everything fruit and veg like..... but never a cauliflower..... I MUST rectify the serious mistake I have made..... this looks so perfectly delicious, it has to be tried!!!

    1. Thanks Kate - get roasting because it is really worth it :-)

  10. Oops - think I lost my comment, sorry if I double up. Was just going to say how delicious this looked! And that I've seen quite a few whole roasted cauliflowers in the last little while but have not yet tried it - it sounds delicious. I bet my boyfriend would like it too, he has been trying to bring in sunday roast traditions and I feel this would be a great 'main' (when we usually have roasts, it's just a bunch of cooked veggies)

    1. Thanks Caeli - sounds like bloggers was misbehaving! I would love to have a sunday roast tradition - our weekends can be really quiet or just no time for it so I don't know how it would go here but I love a good roast dinner - of course I would have to include nut roasts in some of the dinners! And this cauli dish would look great

  11. Cauliflowers here in the eastern States are $6-7/head :(. I love them so, but dang is that expensive. But we got some planted in the garden so will hopefully have some growing soon and I won't have to pay an arm and leg for one and I'll make this recipe because it sounds awesome!

    1. Thanks Lazy Vegan Baker - that would be exciting to have caulis in the garden!

  12. Oh wow - this sounds delicious. I am really seeing a lot of cauliflower recipes right now, although this one looks quite different than the ones I've seen. Love the tomato flavour.
    Thanks so much for sharing this at Healthy Vegan Fridays =)


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)