Not to reinvent the wheel or anything, but hey look! I’ve got some super swell roasted cauliflower for you today. You totally needed another recipe for that in your life, right? I know, I know, it’s a little questionable me showing up here with something that isn't dessert and only barely qualifies as dinner (even when topped with an olive oil-fried egg), but it’s what I’m carrying right now, and it’s not without good reason.
The thing is, I’m in the middle of what I hope to be a soon-resolved phase of tooth-pain drama, and all I’ve managed to choke down for the past 2 weeks is food that is either: (a) bite-sized, (b) soft to the point of almost being mushy, or (c) both. I actually hadn’t contemplated mentioning it before now, because: Snoozeville USA for real, but here we are with my back left molar cracked in two places necessitating, among other things, a root canal, the boring kind of crown, and me trumpeting an unholy string of expletives anytime my top and bottom jaws touch on the left side. It has really thrown quite the wrench into this whole cook, eat, write-about-it thing I’ve been up to lately, especially since it's messing with what is supposed to be the easiest task of the three. Basically what I’m saying is, I’m rocking the palate of a toddler until further notice.
And since I don’t even claim to be the type of person who is above something so incredulous as milking an ailment in order to indulge in what I presume to be the ultimate dream of toddlers everywhere - an all ice cream diet - I have no problem admitting that I am this close to going there and staying there, and not coming back to the notoriously overrated world of maturity and real food until this whole thing is said and done. (Which, for the record, will be no sooner than this coming Friday.) But no, no, no, I can do this. I’m an adult - a grown ass woman! I just need to remain calm and have another bite of cauliflower.
That’s exactly what I’m going to do, too, and I’m not even going to be a little upset about it because this cauliflower is so much more than a consolation prize. I’ve been making it for a few years now and it has always done me well. It’s a go-to side dish and backup dinner for us, because the cauliflower keeps as well in the fridge as the onion does on the counter. When our meal plan is running on the shorter side, I'll often toss a head of cauliflower and a white onion in my cart at the grocery store, knowing that I can pull this together in a pinch. And it’s shockingly satisfying, with those beefy bites of cauliflower all wound around with strings of onion that, once cooked, take on a quality described in the original as “just-this-side-of-burnt.” It’s a winner, this trusty ole thing, and a dear kind friend to the chewing impaired.
Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower, adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a light supper when topped with an egg
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 medium onion, sliced into about 1/4 inch half moons
4 or 5 sprigs thyme (or about a 1/2 tablespoon of dried thyme)
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 - 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 425°.
Turn the cauliflower upside down on the cutting board and start slicing away the layers of leaves. Once all leaves have been removed slice the head into florets by holding the core with one hand cutting down and away from the stem. As you chop the florets some pieces will crumble. These little bits will turn into brown crunchy bits and, now that I think about it, might actually be the highlight of the whole experience.
Toss cauliflower florets on a large rimmed baking sheet with onion, thyme on the stem (if fresh), garlic, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and starting to brown, 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and roast a little longer until cauliflower is deep brown and nicely caramelized, about 10–12 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with some crumbled thyme leaves from off the stem (if using dry) and more Parmesan.