My step-daughter, Susanne, told me recently that roasting cauliflower is her favorite method of preparing this wonderful vegetable. I became intrigued because although I roast vegetables on a regular basis, I had never tried roasting cauliflower as a side vegetable. I have a fabulous recipe for “Cauliflower and Potato Tian” in my book Simple Vegetarian Pleasures, and that has been one of my go-to recipes when I have a large head of cauliflower that I want to use as a main course. A tian is a casserole where vegetables are cloaked in olive oil and cooked at a high heat – a sort of moist roasting that caramelizes the vegetables. The roasted cauliflower that I feature here is curried by an extremely easy method:just mix some good quality curry powder, cumin seeds, and a bit of tomato sauce into some olive oil and coat the cauliflower with the mixture. It couldn’t be a simpler. When the cauliflower is cooked, toss on some thawed frozen peas , return to the oven, and cook a few more minutes to heat up the peas. I serve the cauliflower with a side of basmati rice that has been cooked with a cinnamon stick, a bay leaf, and some minced onion. Plain yogurt on the side rounds out the meal. I roast the cauliflower in a heavy casserole dish, keeping it in one layer so it browns nicely, but you can use what ever you have on hand – even a large baking sheet will do.
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons curry powder
A few dashes cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste ( I use a lot)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients – except the peas- in a small bowl and pour all over the cauliflower, tossing thoroughly to coat the cauliflower well. Spread the mixture in a large casserole dish or on a baking sheet.
Bake about 45 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and browned. Sprinkle on the peas and return to the oven for about 5 minutes to heat the peas through.