Last winter I had a roasted garlic cauliflower salad at a neighborhood restaurant that sounded so good, but disappointed. I’ve been experimenting at home since to get the salad I craved. Dried-out cauliflower, burned garlic, and other problems ensued, but now I have what I want and the family called it excellent tonight.
I found that roasting the cauliflower uncovered, then covering it for the last 15 minutes or so kept it from getting too dry. I read an article about steam-roasting vegetables in Fine Cooking that takes a similar tack but in the opposite direction, roasting vegetables covered for a while and then uncovering them. I’ve adopted their steam-roasting method, but watch out for the steam! I opened the oven in a hurry and leaned into a near-scalding faceful of steam: don’t do the same!
I’m also using Fine Cooking‘s method of roasting garlic: smashing the unpeeled cloves lightly with the flat of a knife and putting them in the oven that way. The protective peel seems to help prevent scorching. I put the unpeeled, smashed garlic cloves on the baking tray with the cauliflower. At the end I find each clove and remove the skin, then chop all the garlic and add it back in with the cauliflower.
It’s just the beginning of the season for cauliflower and winter dinner salads. I think I’m going to be putting this salad on the table often!
- 1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower, about 2 or 3#
- 5 cloves garlic
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp. salt
- about 8 oz. of washed salad greens
- juice of ½ lemon
- 2 or 3 scallions, chopped
- olive oil, salt, pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 450.
- Break and/or cut the cauliflower into small florets.
- In a large bowl, mix the cauliflower with the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Sprinkle with a few grinds of black pepper and mix.
- Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Lightly smash 5 unpeeled cloves of garlic with the flat of a knife.
- Put cauliflower florets and garlic cloves on the baking sheet.
- Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil (it may take several large pieces) and place in oven.
- Cook for 10 minutes, then remove aluminum foil.
- Cook for 15 additional minutes, stir, then cook for an additional ten minutes or so.
- Remove cauliflower when starting to brown, let cool.
- Find the five garlic cloves, remove skins, chop, mix back in with the cauliflower.
- For the scallions, chop off the roots, finely chop most of the scallion, not including the leafy top of the stalk.
- Add cooled cauliflower and chopped scallions to the greens and mix. Add lemon juice plus additional salt and pepper as needed.