Cauliflower Candy

I used to be roommates with my sister Laura, who was a skinny yoga teacher pescetarian type (and partially responsible for the name of this blog). Laura used to roast all manners of vegetables — squash, eggplant, cucumbers — always sliced into little coins, always cooked until they became caramely and delicious. It was a nifty trick I was never quite able to repeat — perhaps because Laura was such a prodigious user of olive oil. Where others would drizzle, she would pour.

Before

Before

One day, I was roasting some cauliflower and forgot about it. It cooked about 45 minutes longer than I had intended. And when I finally returned to the oven, the plump snow florets had shrunk by two thirds into little brown caramel bombs. This was not what I had planned, but I tasted one and it was transformative. The subtle flavors of the cauliflower had been focused, beautifully floral in this sweet salty confection. A whole new thing — cauliflower candy!

I was peeved to discover similar posts from other bloggers online — I thought I had discovered cauliflower candy myself. There were numerous variations, none that was exactly the same as mine, none called anything as creative as “cauliflower candy,” all of which brought me a small degree of comfort. Some people did it in a pan on the stove (please…), others sliced it thin like a cold cut before roasting, a few minced it into rice-size bits while others left it in elephantine chunks. I guess I shouldn’t scoff, since I didn’t attempt any other preparations. Why should I, when I have found perfection?

A few weeks back, my wife was nosing around in the fridge, and discovered a half cauliflower I’d forgotten about, which was beginning to blacken in places. She held it up and waved it at me. “Would you roast this? Please??” Food is the way to a woman’s heart.

After

After

What would you do with this new confection you discovered (yes, YOU! congratulations!) right here on my blog?? They’re delicious on top of an arugula salad, adding a complementary note of sweetness. They’d do a great service to pasta or pizza. I could imagine some hipster Portland ice cream guy basing a gelato around them. We like to eat them right out of the bowl, like some dense, rich gourmand popcorn from the heavens. (Oh yes, we do!) Or, figure out your own favorite use for them. After all, you discovered them…

Enjoy!

*    *    *

Cauliflower candy
makes approximately 2 cups

1 large head cauliflower, chopped into small to medium pieces
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt

Line a baking sheet with foil turned up at the edges. Toss your cauliflower with 1/2 cup olive oil and about a teaspoon of flaky sea salt.

Heat oven to 350 and cook the cauliflower for 45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until it’s golden and beginning to brown in places. Lower the oven to 250, add more olive oil if you’d like, and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.

Remove from oven. Eat hot or at room temperature.

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21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Benjamin Thompson
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 00:29:40

    Yup, been doing that for years. I didn’t discover it myself. I used to work at a restaurant that served it that way. I just checked and it’s still on the menu, 10 years after I worked there! http://www.damico.com/menus/LurcMN-Dinner-1113.pdf I’m actually roasting cauliflower tonight but I’m experimenting, I tossed it with an orange/saffron aioli first. We’ll see how it turns out. Wait, mayonnaise and roasting cauliflower! What is this madness?

    Reply

    • scolgin
      Feb 07, 2014 @ 00:45:53

      That menu made me hungry.

      Mayo and ANYTHING, I always say! LMK how it turns out, that sounds fascinating.

      Reply

      • Benjamin Thompson
        Feb 12, 2014 @ 21:47:59

        While eating roasted cauliflower, and eating orange/saffron aioli are both delightful pass times, putting them together did not create any type of special synergy. Actually, it tasted better when I also added some white vinegar and then served it at room temp.

      • scolgin
        Feb 12, 2014 @ 22:54:56

        I would’ve been surprised if you had said it was delicious. But I’m always optimistic. 🙂

  2. M. R.
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 03:06:11

    As cauli is one of my very favourite vegetables, this reads like heaven!!!
    GOODONYER!!!!
    P.S. I heard via the grapevine that my pumpkin was seen sailing away up north. Reckon it’s gone for good. That’s life, eh?
    😉

    Reply

  3. Jessamine in PDX
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 03:57:57

    I’ll let you know how that gelato turns out. 😉

    Reply

  4. broth
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 08:27:45

    I like ‘Califlower candy’ a-top a creamy savory risotto. Not original, but yummy.

    Reply

  5. linnetmoss
    Feb 07, 2014 @ 12:40:46

    Transformative is the word! Love it.

    Reply

  6. Michelle
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 01:51:04

    Pour it on.

    Reply

  7. catsholiday
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 21:14:19

    Sounds great – will have to try it

    Reply

  8. celinevanobb
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 22:29:07

    A reblogué ceci sur My veggie experience.

    Reply

  9. Noel Kleinman
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 23:43:15

    We roast cauliflower all the time…a favorite. Olive oil, sea salt, parmesan and red pepper flakes at the end of the roasting process.

    Reply

    • scolgin
      Feb 10, 2014 @ 01:05:49

      I like the parmesan/red pepper flake addition — giving it an Italian twist, like the way they do broccoli in Rome. Be good with an anchovy infused in there…

      Reply

  10. JC Williams
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 05:53:06

    This place in downtown Napa used to do a version of Cavolfiore with lemon juice, garlic and pine nuts. Best results from roasting separately, combining the other ingredients in a saucepan, then pouring over the roasted veggie (as opposed to tossing first then roasting). Seems they’ve changed up the recipe since we were last there –> http://www.azzurropizzeria.com/AzzurroFEBMenuPDF.pdf

    Reply

  11. lukerumfelt
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 00:09:19

    Reblogged this on The Subjective World According To Luke and commented:
    A unique twist on a favorite vegetable of mine. Thanks for the great ideas and recipes. One of the few things I read where the comments were as useful as the post itself.

    Reply

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