Previously, I was under the notion that everyone knew that one of the best ways to cook 96% of all vegetables was to oven roast them at a really high heat with olive oil, salt and pepper – and sometimes, a few herbs and spices. I mean, seriously. You name it, roasting is the tastiest.
- Potatoes? Roasted, duh. (rosemary and bacon)
- Green beans? Hells yeah! Roast the shit outta those. (chili flakes or sesame seeds/oil)
- Brussel sprouts? Of course! (lemon and chili flakes)
- Carrots? Well, we already know that…
Bring it on, I dare you….give me a vegetable that isn’t delicious when roasted. Especially in the fall. I don’t think there’s a single one….
And for sure….
Cauliflower and Beets! (ahem…purple cauliflower and yellow beets…)
It was cauliflower, actually, that helped bring to my attention the sad fact that not every cook feels, in their soul, the value of roasting. I was reading an article in an old issue of Gourmet (RIP) that preached to the reader the glory of roasting, specifically for cauliflower. I’ll tell you – roasting cauliflower is the only way I cook it. It’s amazing. High heat, til it browns and it’s out of this world. Well, second to the breaded and fried cauliflower from Bar Bambino.
And, being fall and all … all the veggies that you want to roast anyways – they’re extra pretty. Purple cauliflower and yellow beets…
purple and yellow wax beans…
romanesco (aka geometric broccoli)…
and so many more!
So here’s how you do it for a head of cauliflower and about 3 medium sized beets….
- Trim it of leaves and the bottom stalk that hold most of the florets together, keep trimming down the stalks and the florets will naturally fall off into small pieces.
- For the large ones, cut them in half down the middle so they’re about this size:
Give or take… having some a little bigger, some a little smaller is fine. In fact, the smaller ones are crazy good because they get real crispy!)
For the beets:
- Cut off the tops and greens (but save the greens, they’re delish!) and then slice them into rounds, about 1/2 inch thick, then cut those rounds like a waffle fry – crosswise, then the other way, so they end up being ’bout an inch square:
- Beets, too, are just a little bit “more of less” in size. Because they’re round, and because you’re not a restaurant that is willing to waste a little bit of beet in order to get them all the same size, they’re gonna vary just a tad.
- Then, put both in a large bowl, toss with tasty olive oil, fresh ground black pepper and salt. I highly recommend using Alaea Hawaiian Red Salt – it’s great for roasting, because it naturally helps to retain moisture. Its iron content (what makes it red) and residual minerals also add great, but subtle, flavor.
- After tossing it, lay it all out flat onto a baking sheet and drop into an oven preheated for 425 for 25-3o minutes, until there is good visible browning on both the beets and cauliflower, but not so long they’re mushy. Taste-test along the way.
- Serve it up and eat it!