After years of playing the understudy, it seems cauliflower is having it’s turn in the spotlight. Doesn’t it seem that everyone is crushing on cauliflower at the moment? And for good reason.
I’ve always loved the crunchy cruciferous wonder but only if it happened to be swimming in a rich cheesy sauce, British-style, or nestled in a lovely curry. But then I discovered the the transformative beauty of roasting cauliflower on high heat, which creates a slightly sweet, caramelized crust. Yum.
My daughter and I wandered into DC’s Compass Rose restaurant a few weeks ago. It’s been on my (huge) “must visit” list for ages, and she’s always up for a culinary adventure. Walking into the row house entrance, we felt that we had walked into the home of a hip globetrotting old friend. With exposed brick walls, splashes of bold colors, and twinkle lights strung along the ceiling, the space couldn’t have been more inviting. This eclectic little spot features an assortment of street food-inspired small plates from all corners of the globe and a fabulous cocktail menu. Our kind of eating.
Guided by our server, who enthusiastically recounted details of his recent adventure to the Georgian wine country (that would be the country, not the state), we feasted on Georgian khachapuri (an insanely rich and flavorful cheese bread), spicy gambas (shrimp) from Portugal, grilled calimari from Greece, and arepas from Colombia. The vegetarian item we immediately agreed upon? The Brown Butter Roasted Cauliflower. No mention of where the inspiration came from on the menu, but topped with crunchy toasted hazelnuts and golden raisins, it rocked.
So I wandered home and tried my hand at recreating it the other day. Roasting cauliflower on high heat with salt and pepper is quite lovely… but if you drizzle it with a bit of melted brown butter and toss it with toasted hazelnuts and bright golden raisins… wow. Just wow.
Can’t wait to return to Compass Rose to sample another round of street-food treasures.
Things I’ve been crushing on this week:
I’ve just survived my last college application process (as my youngest heads off to college in the fall). Love these essays.
One of those kids is a huge believer in the Myers-Briggs test… She will love these Myers-Briggs type kitchens. She’s an ISTJ, I’m an ENFP (or ENFJ, some days).
I have come to realize I’m a little thin on vegetables on Bourbon and Brown Sugar, but if you love this cauliflower, I suspect you’ll also love my Haricots Verts with Lemon Brown Butter and Toasted Almonds inspired by Le Diplomate – a restaurant just down the street from Compass Rose.
Seems The Displaced Housewife is also crushing on cauliflower this week.
Remember when I mentioned my S’more Pie was a bit popular on Instagram… when the Feed Feed picked it up earlier this week, things got kinda nutty! And love the crew on Fiesta Friday – thanks for featuring my cornbread this week!
Enjoy your weekend all!
- one head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
- Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, black and red pepper on a baking sheet; sprinkle with the salt and toss again. Roast until golden and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
- Coarsely chop the hazelnuts. Place them in a pie tin in the 450 degree oven for 5-10 minutes (you can do this while the cauliflower is roasting.)
- Brown the butter. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a pan with a light-colored bottom so you can keep track of the color. Swirl the pan occasionally to be sure the butter is cooking evenly. As the butter melts, it will begin to foam. The color will slowly change from yellow to toasty-brown. Watch it very carefully as the butter starts changing color, as it can burn! Once you smell that nutty aroma, take the pan off the heat.
- When the cauliflower is finished, drizzle it with the melted brown butter, toss to coat, then transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and golden raisins. Serve warm.