It’s not too late to try a new side dish for your Thanksgiving meal this year, especially one as easy as this cauliflower. I’m usually not a big fan of cooked cauliflower, but I am a fan of butter and things roasted in butter, which is the key to this side dish. We’re also fans of Michael Ruhlman and found this recipe in his new cookbook, “Ruhlman’s Twenty,” which contains 20 fundamental techniques and 100 recipes. The cauliflower recipe is in the section on roasting, and as Ruhlman states, this cooking method creates “caramel-nutty flavors that are beautifully enhanced by the flavor of the browned butter.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Remove any leaves from the cauliflower and cut off the stem as close to the base as possible.
Pour a little canola or vegetable oil over the cauliflower and rub it all over. Roast the cauliflower in the oven preheated to 450 degrees for about 45 minutes. (We roasted ours in a small baking pan, but you can use whatever kind of baking pan or dish you like, as long as it is ovenproof.)
After about 45 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and add about 4-6 tablespoons of butter to the cauliflower. Pile the butter on top of the cauliflower, let it melt for about 1 minute, then smear it around and let the remaining butter accumulate in the baking pan, where it will brown as the cauliflower continues to cook. (A genius way to prepare brown butter, while at the same time roasting the cauliflower. Don’t worry, most of the butter ends up in the bottom of the pan — only about half (or less) actually melts on to the cauliflower.) Sprinkle the cauliflower with a generous pinch of salt and place the baking pan back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
For the final half hour, baste the cauliflower a couple of times by spooning the butter from the bottom of the pan over the top of the cauliflower to coat it all over.
The cauliflower is done when it is carmelized on the outside and tender (but not mushy) on the inside. Ruhlman says “a knife inserted should meet no resistance.” (He writes good.)
The buttery cauliflower was a nice alternative to potatoes and paired well with our fried game hen and garden salad. It would also go well with turkey. No matter what you’re serving this year, we hope that you and yours have a wonderful meal and, more importantly, many blessings for which you are grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!
P.S. If you’re as thankful for leftover turkey as we are, but like it in other preparations in addition to the traditional turkey sandwich, here are some options: Turkey Tetrazzini, King Ranch Casserole, Stuffed Shells, Tex-Mex Turkey Soup, Turkey Paella, Green Chile Turkey Enchiladas