Wednesday 7 July 2010

Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy Mayonnaise

Cauliflower is a vegetable I sometimes struggle with. Every time I look at one I am haunted by memories of it being boiled to buggery at school, little grey florets whiffing of farts swimming in a dank cheese sauce to accompany whatever monstrosity was to be served that day in the canteen. This may be what drove me to a diet of crafty cigarettes and fruit pastilles for lunch instead.

Of course, this is somewhat unfair on the poor ol' cauliflower. It's not a sexy vegetable, nor is it a trendy one. Comforting soups and cheesy bakes (done properly, please) spring to mind when confronted with one, but I doubt many see this as the kind of vegetable you can simply steam, dress with butter and sprinkle with salt. It just doesn't stand up on it's own. However, roasting the florets intensifies the flavour, making them nutty, crispy and especially delicious when given a good dunking. Anchovy mayonnaise, studded with spring onions, capers and sprinkled with cinnamon was warming and luxurious; perfect for a starter or a snack.

Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy Mayonnaise

Serves 4 as a starter or a nibble

1 medium cauliflower
Vegetable oil
A generous couple of pinches of chilli flakes
Salt & pepper
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 heaped tsp of capers
2 anchovies
1 spring onion
1 tsp Dijon mustard or 1/2 tsp English mustard
2 sprigs of tarragon
1 tsp lemon juice
A dusting of ground cinnamon

Preheat the over to 230 degrees celcius. Cut the cauliflower into even-sized florets and give them a good wash. Drain and toss in a large bowl with a drizzle of oil, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and put it in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until the florets are browned and cooked through. Toss occasionally.

Meanwhile, chop the anchovies up finely and place in a pestle and mortar. Chop the capers and the spring onion roughly and throw this in. Mash about for a bit until it's all incorporated, and transfer to a bowl.

Add the mustard and then add the mayonnaise incrementally by tablespoon, mixing well in between each. Chop the tarragon finely, add the lemon juice and stir through. Finally dust it with a little cinnamon. Serve the florets piping hot with the dipping sauce on the side.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE cauliflower, but my flatmate hates it. Think I'll try this and see if I can change his mind.

Chris Pople said...

Strange isn't it how you never see cauliflower in its natural state in restaurants, always foamed up or veloutéd or puréed. I have nothing against it really, but as you say its image has been tarnished by awful school meals and bland baked sides. This looks nice 'n' crispy and tasty.

Chris Rosam said...

Love roasted Cauliflower, sounds and looks lovely w anchovy mayonaisse

Gareth said...

Cauliflower and anchovy is a top mix. I nicked and adapted Riverford idea to make a brilliant punchy as hell dressing with anchovies, garlic and sherry vinegar that went brilliantly with some roasted cauli.

PDH said...

Wouldn't have thought of roasting a Cauli at all but I'll definitely give it a go... Anything to dip into Anchovies has to be awesome.

Fabhat said...

Looks and sounds delicous. Similar flavours - Anna del Conte has a wonderful recipe for a cauliflower salad with a pinenut and anchovy dressing - looks amazing if you use romanesco cauliflower.

Nordic Nibbler said...

This looks good! I've struggled to find a palatable cauliflower dish that doesn't involve cheese. Will have to give it a go.

markymarket said...

do you put the vegetable oil on the cauli?

Hollow Legs said...

Azaher - do let me know if it works!

Chris - it's pretty ugly, aint it.

Chris R - It may well be my New Favourite Thing.

Gareth - 0ooh that recipe sounds very interesting, I'll look it up.

Paul - I agree - anchovies are top.

Fabhat - thanks! Pinenut sounds interesting, are they kept whole?

Nordic - I know what you mean. This is cheese-free, let me know if you try it.

Markymarket - good spot! I've amended the recipe, thanks for pointing it out.

Manne said...

Tried roasting cauli with some oil, sliced garlic and chilli flakes a few days ago and was amazed. Can't remember who suggested that but it worked so well.

Adding anchovy mayo sounds like the perfect combo! Definitely making this for dinner tonight.

Dan said...

Absolutely lovely. I might also have to make grilled anchovies with cauliflower mayo.

Sharmila said...

Along with okra, cauliflower was one of my favourite veggies as a kid (I was a strange child). It's all about the Indian spices. My mum still makes one of the best cauli dishes I've tasted, which involves mixing it in a mix of earthy spices such as cumin, coriander, garam masala and then roasting it. Scooped up with chapati, it is one of my favourite things ever.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE cauli... makes a great soup... try leek and potato soup but replace the potato with cauli... when I was on the Atkins diet I replaced cauli for potato a LOT... it makes a wonderful puree or mash and also try cauli soup with chedder (like cauli cheese soup!) x

Aoife Mc said...

I feel exactly the same way about cauliflower. It tastes of homesickness to me, due to boarding school servings of the poor vegetable boiled to within an inch of its life *sadface*

I've been meaning to conquer this food trauma but haven't as yet. This recipe looks like a good place to start. Thanks for the reminder!

P.S. Love your tweets! You always seem to be having a good time, hangovers notwithstanding :)

Anonymous said...

oh and congrats on the 'Best of the Blogs' mention in The Times today xxx well done you!

Su-Lin said...

May I suggest breaking those florets down into thinner slices and then roasting them? They become wicked brown and even more delicious!