If many many years ago you had told the 10 year old cauliflower-hating me that I would one day be fighting to spear the last piece of cauliflower on the plate, I'd have laughed in your face. But I can't deny that yesterday I fought the cauliflower war (and lost--sniff, sniff to my daughter, who's got amazingly quick hands!) And now all I can think about is how soon I can make this amazing side again, 'cause these simply roasted florets, drizzled with brown butter into which pumpkin seeds (pepitas) have been toasted, has completely stolen my heart. Who's laughing now?!!
Cutting cauliflower into steaks and roasting them has been all over the Internet for ages now and I've been slow to jump on the bandwagon, but no more, because slicing them this way increases the surface area which allows for more of the cauliflower surface to get deliciously charred and caramelized. You're looking at a no-turning-back cauliflower steak convert here. Yum!
Now, you could stop here and I promise your mouth would be happy, but if you want even more joy, take the 5 minutes or so to brown some butter and toast the pepitas in it. The nutty flavor of the butter combined with the crunch of the pepitas (God, I love that word!) and the sweetness of the roasted cauliflower is truly a treat! Then you take it even further up a notch by adding a dash of red pepper flakes and some freshly squeezed lime juice. Take a bite and feel the explosion of taste and texture on your tastebuds!
My new favorite side!! Wish I had some right now! I'll have to double the recipe next time so that there's no need to resort to the fork battle, especially when I'm up against you-know-who!!
Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter and Toasted Pepitas
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: Under 1 hour (but only about 15 minutes of this is active time)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 large head cauliflower
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1-2 shakes red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil onto a large rimmed baking sheet and spread out.
2. Trim the greens off the cauliflower and cut the bottom so that the cauliflower can stand upright. Slice it lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices and arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheet. Add on any stray florets. Drizzle with the remaining oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place into the oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until the bottoms are deeply browned. Turn the slices (and little pieces) over, season with a bit more salt and pepper and roast for another 15 minutes or so, until dark brown and crisp as well.
3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and swirl the pan around, until the butter is browned and the seeds are toasted. This should take anywhere from 4-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the red pepper flakes. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then add the parsley and lime juice.
4. When the cauliflower is done, arrange on a platter and pour the browned butter mixture on top. Serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from a 2015 issue of Bon Appétit Magazine. I subbed in parsley for the cilantro and cut down the red pepper flakes.