Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beyond Cauliflower

This recipe was in the New York Times foodie Thanksgiving section. I usually do not "do" recipes straight from other recipes; I find it hard to stick to what is written (problem with authority?). However, for this recipe, I stayed pretty spot on. The results were well received: cauliflower as a vehicle for subtly serious flavors of brown butter, sage, and lemon. With only hints of each main ingredient, this cauliflower is definitely the most Mysterious I've ever had. And the sage salt-making process was beautiful and fun.
I will most likely make the recipe again, but will perhaps experiment with adding other herbs. I'll keep you posted. Check it out:

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
handful of fresh washed sage leaves (you don't need much- fresh sage is very strong)
1 T kosher salt
2 heads cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 T unsalted butter
1 lemon, zest set aside (a microplane or regular grater works great for zesting; you'll also need the juice, so don't toss it out when you're done zesting!)

Pour olive oil into a small saucepan. Over medium low heat, warm the oil. When little bubbles form on the bottom of the pan, add the sage leaves. Simmer about 2-3 minutes. Pour oil and sage into a small bowl. Remove the sage leaves from the oil; dry them on a paper towel.
On 425, roast cauliflower tossed in fresh sage oil. Keep in oven about 30 min, or until lightly browned. While this is in the oven, prepare brown butter sauce by melting and simmering butter on low. Cook until butter turns brown, smells toasty, and solids are brown. Add lemon juice, stir well. Prepare sage salt, too, while cauliflower cooks. Do this by crumbling the sage leaves in between your fingers and then adding your kosher salt.
When cauliflower comes out of the oven, place in a large bowl and toss with brown butter sauce, zest, sage salt. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

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