I feel like I've always been pretty upfront about my disdain for vegetables. The list of produce that I'm willing to eat is woefully small: broccoli, lettuce, carrots (raw only), zucchini, green beans, peas (though I prefer to be of the sugar snap or snow pea varieties), and occasionally spinach, but only if it's cooked in something, never alone. Sometimes, I can handle celery if it's cut very small. I also have a surprising love of Brussels sprouts that I have cultivated in recent years. By and large, however, this means that our options for side dishes are pretty limited on the average weeknight.
But bless his soul, as an avid veggie lover, Justin has been persistent. A few weeks back, we were standing in the produce department, while I tried to figure out a vegetable for us eat with one of our meals for the week. The usual suspects were getting tiresome, and I was uninspired. Justin reached for a head of cauliflower, and plaintively asked if we could get it. I vetoed the idea immediately, but he promised me that not only would he eat the entire thing himself, that he would cook it for himself as well, and I wouldn't have to lift a finger. I was sold.
I remembered reading an article somewhere that argued that roasting was the best method for cooking cauliflower, as it created a nearly transcendent final product, so I went online and did a search for roasted cauliflower instead of letting Justin steam the whole batch. The idea of a heaping bowl of steamed cauliflower seemed so bland and unappetizing to me that I couldn't bear the thought of even watching him eat it. I came a recipe from Emeril for which all the ingredients could be found in our kitchen, so I picked that for Justin to follow, even though I've had mixed results from Emeril's recipes in the past.
Though I think he was slightly annoyed that the recipe I picked out required more time and effort than steaming, his doubts seemed to evaporate when the kitchen began to fill with the most delicious aroma. The smell wafting out of our oven was so delightful that even I, an avid cauliflower hater, was moved to sample a bite when it came out of the pan. Lo and behold, what I experienced was not the foul vegetable I'd experienced in the past, but something truly amazing. I wanted to eat more -- lots more.
With this garlic-heavy, lemon-accented recipe in my arsenal, I am prepared to make cauliflower a regular feature in our side-dish rotation. Justin won't even have to beg for it anymore; I might even go so far as to buy it of my own free will, and prepare it on my own.
You win this round, boyfriend -- you have gotten me to accept a new vegetable into my life. You may not be so lucky next time...
Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Lemon Juice
adapted from Emeril Lagasse
1 medium cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2 inch florets (about 5-6 cups)
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 500.