Buttery Oven Roasted Cauliflower Recipe
This is the quintessential northern Italian type recipe that is simple, minimalist and will make you close your eyes at the first bite.This might be my most favorite oven roasted cauliflower recipe ever, and there’s a lot of them here at Spinach Tiger.
When I was tasting this dish, I thought of Marcella Hazan who wrote this legendary cookbook that stands worn-out in my kitchen. If you even dream of understanding authentic Italian cooking, this book is a must and get it in hardcover. You’ll have it for years.
She also writes a book called Ingredienti, Marcella’s Guide to the Market, that is simply charming and useful, as she believes ingredients almost outweigh a recipe, which should be non-complicated.
Buttery Oven Roasted Cauliflower Recipe Process
The cauliflower is sliced medium-thin, and fried in clarified butter, before roasting. You must clarify the butter, because you will be frying the cauliflower at medium high heat.
You can learn how to clarify butter here.
The cauliflower slices are then layered with salt, pepper, and authentic parmigiano-reggiano cheese and broiled for about five minutes.
The problem with cauliflower is that not all parts will slice the way you want them to. Some will crumble. That’s okay. Just put those to the side and fry those together. You can put them either in the center or middle of the layers. Put your best layers on top.
I call this cauliflower crack, as it’s buttery and gets flavor from parmigiano reggiano cheese.
Food should be made with the best ingredients you can find, and as few of them as it takes to create a culinary experience.
Take that in for a moment. Good food has finesse and draws you close to its source. When you taste this cauliflower, it should make you want to ask more about this dish, like what cheese is this, what butter did you use?
As simple this oven roasted cauliflower recipe is, it makes you want to know more about it.
I used unsalted Irish butter, because it’s amazing and makes grocery store butter taste like fake butter.
I used organic cauliflower, making sure to look for a head that had no black spots.
I used AUTHENTIC parmigiano-reggiano from Italy, not fake substitutes. You will pay more, but you will use less. Treat this king of cheese as it deserves. It’s very subtle, yet has an umami flavor and it comes from the special cow’s milk produced by cows in a small protected area of Italy. Don’t buy pre-grated, as it begins to lose moisture immediately. Don’t use pecorino in this recipe, as it will overpower the dish and be too salty.
I used or pink himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Use Cast Iron Pans to cook from Stove Top to Oven
Because I like to use high heats and place this under the broil, I used this size cast iron pan. If you have never cooked with cast iron, I urge you to invest in a few sizes. Not only are they affordable, they last through generations. I only purchased a few of my 14 cast iron pans, inheriting the rest. I use at least one of them every single day.
Once the dish came out of the oven, I realized I topped it with some fresh basil, the only fresh I had. You can use fresh parsley or thyme, but I wouldn’t burden it with any stronger flavors, because the beauty of this dish is how nuanced it is.
If you like this, you’ll be inspired by this most popular cauliflower recipe, Cauliflower Hash, which is similar.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 4 tablespoons clarified butter, unsalted.
- Celtic Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- ⅓ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
- fresh basil or parsley for garnish
- Preheat broiler or oven to 425 degrees
- Trim Cauliflower, Slice medium thin sliced thickness, about ¼ inch, not shaved
- Use a small cast iron pan that will make three layers.
- Heat clarified butter in pan. To make clarified butter, heat in medium heat and skim off all foam. What is left is clarified butter.
- Add cauliflower one layer at a time, not to crowd pan. Fry until nearly golden brown or golden on edges. Remove to dish, as you cook each layer.
- Season each layer with salt and pepper. Make sure each layer has some of the melted butter.
- Layer each with a parmigiano reggiano cheese.
- Save the nicest cauliflower pieces for the top.
- Sprinkle top with cheese.
- Either roast at 425 for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is golden, or place under broiler for about five minutes. You may need to watch this closely to not burn it.
- When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle chopped parsley or basil.
- Serve immediately.
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