It's hard to go wrong with cauliflower. The simple vegetable is bland on its own, but that's just what makes it so perfect for recipes -- it acts as a platform for other flavors to take center stage. In this recipe, cauliflower is paired up with olives and rosemary.
Olives can be a tricky thing, as there is a wide range of flavors from delicate to piquant. But thankfully, the selection of the olives used in this recipe is entirely up to you. I dislike green olives and thought kalamata might be too bold for this dish, so I chose an interesting and mild oven-baked black olive. I also added a squeeze of meyer lemon juice to the simmering olives and rosemary, as that seemed like it would bring everything together. You could make this recipe ten times over with each having an entirely different flavor based on what kind of olives you select, so feel free to play around and see what you enjoy most.
This can also be a vegan recipe. Rather than simmering the olives and rosemary in butter, use a small splash of olive oil and lightly sauté the olives and herbs, then toss with the roasted cauliflower.More on The Cooking Project.
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I have a hard time passing up when I see it in the market. I don't know what it is, the colour, the florets, or the way it's framed with green leaves. But I do know that one overwhelming attraction about this vegetable is that although it has a fairly strong flavour profile, it lends itself to so many pairings. It's fantastic in Indian cooking, but you can cook it simply in a soup with a bit of cheese, or you can use it in a stir-fry.
This recipe from the website Running with Tweezers also included dates with this recipe. Dates aren't my favourite thing, so I just decided to skip them. If you want to include them in the recipe use about 10, pitted and chopped and cook them with the olives and rosemary.
Roasted Cauliflower with Olives and Rosemary
1 medium (4-5″ in diameter) head of cauliflower, tough stems/leaves removed & cut into florets
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
12-15 olives – pitted and roughly chopped
3 sprigs fresh Rosemary – leaves removed from the stems then roughly chopped
kosher salt and more fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large roasting pan or baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and the fresh ground black pepper. Once the oven comes up to temperature, roast the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven) until tender with some caramelized brown spots.
2. About 2 minutes before you’re going to pull the cauliflower from the oven, heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Allow to start to bubble and brown ever so slightly. Throw in the chopped rosemary, dates (if using) and olives and saute until heated through – you don’t want the rosemary to get black, though. Pull the cauliflower from the oven. Drizzle the butter and olive mixture over the cauliflower in the roasting pan and toss.