They say cauliflower is the new kale. I'm not sure how I feel about that statement, because I've never been a fan of fads or trends (as my wardrobe in grade school well reflected) but I do love cauliflower, and I do love kale. So if they're popular right now, all the better!
I haven't always felt so positively about cauliflower. My love of cauliflower has been transformed over the years, much like my grade school wardrobe. As a kid I always thought it was the most boring of vegetables. It was white, quite bland, and often mushy, particularly if you're talking about the steamed cafeteria variety that continues to cook in its metal warming tray on the "hot meal" line. But fear not! Much like stretch pants and mom jeans, insipid cauliflower is a thing of the past! Because someone invented the oven! Kidding- the oven was invented before year 2000, but someone did have the genius idea to put cauliflower into the oven, for which I am quite grateful.
Cauliflower does amazing things when roasted with olive oil. The tips of the florets become golden, crispy and ever so creamy. It develops a richness nobody knew was possible. And yet the stems retain their texture, creating a wonderful contrast in your mouth. It's quite the experience.
I adapted this recipe from one I found in Food & Wine Magazine. I added currants which pair brilliantly with the spices and round out the Moroccan flavor profile, and changed all of the proportions as usual. The result is a perfectly balanced, spicy and sweet, creamy and rich, crisp cauliflower that almost melts in your mouth. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 mounded tablespoon chopped mint
- 1 mounded tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 mounded tablespoon currants
- 1 mounded tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the olive oil, cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes and salt. Place your cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the oil spice mixture on top, tossing to coat with your hands. Shake the baking sheet so your cauliflower distributes evenly and bake for approximately 45 minutes until the edges begin to crisp and show color.
Transfer to a large bowl, toss with the herbs, currants and pine nuts, and serve.