“A Vegetable Everyone Loves”

Cauliflower is the Rodney Dangerfield of the veggie world. It often cooks up dry, tough and flavorless, causing the kitchen to smell like dirty socks for a week. That being said, this recipe is an exception to the personification and my father states in our family cookbook that this is his most often requested recipe. Almost everyone who tucks into this dish asks how dad cooked it. The original recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse. Be sure to use the freshest cauliflower you can find. Any brown spots on a head are a giveaway that it’s not noble enough for this recipe. Makes 6 side servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 7-8 cups), broken into florets
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves of garlic, sliced (don’t be stingy)
  • 2 lemons, juiced by hand
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • Fresh chopped chives or flat-leaf parsley, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place cauliflower florets in a large pre-greased Pyrex baking dish. Try not to stack the florets, making sure each is touching the bottom of the dish.
  3. Put the garlic on top of the cauliflower. Drizzle with the olive oil and add the salt and pepper.
  4. Place the Pyrex dish in the oven, with the rack about 3/4 of the way down.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring twice to ensure even roasting.
  6. Remove from the oven and squeeze the lemon juice over the cauliflower. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan and bread crumbs. Garnish with the chives or parsley.

*Wine Recommendation: Many wine snobs will tell you that no wine can match funky vegetables like cauliflower or asparagus. Not true. The key is to make sure they have both lemon and salt in the ingredients, which tame the rustic smells and tastes. Depending on the meat you serve this with, go with either a Rhone-styled Syrah (with chicken) or a fruit-driven California Zinfandel (with beef). Might be time to crack open that Turley!

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