Saturday, April 9, 2011

Baked Cauliflower with Salsa Verde

Whats green, white and yummy? This is!
And Im BACK. After a week of salty air, warm ocean water and eating out constantly I am relaxed and excited to be back in the kitchen. I was in Key West for a week and have been playing catch up since I returned, which is why I have not had an entry in almost two weeks(GASP!).

I am also on the broke side of things, so will be eating fairly simply for the next few weeks. I have some delicious ideas for meals, but Ill just put it out there I see a lot of beans and rice in my future. Lucky me, they are great for you!

This is an incredible dish to come back on. This dish is a full of interesting flavor, looks elegant, and is easy enough for most. Sometimes in mexican cooking its hard for me to come up with a side dish, and this is a perfect one. I made quesdillas with leftover ingredients and served this dish on the side, which was a hit. Healthy boyfriend loved the salsa and even his fairly unhealthy roommate gobbled up the stuff. Simple flavors that pack a punch are always my favorite.

The recipe comes from a book called, "A Homemade Life" by Molly Wizenburg. She is a very successful food writer and blogger and it all started with her starting a blog about food. Just like me! Her book is beautifully written, and the recipes are mouth watering. My mother(aka best mom on the planet) got me this book and I have been tearing through the stories and food advice. Inspirational as hell, yall.
For any of you out there more interested in blogging, definitely check out her book, fun fun fun!

Sometimes I am not the biggest fan of cauliflower, but I had never roasted it before. Holy smokes does it develop a new and hearty flavor that way. There are many things I need to try and I love the never ending variety at which vegetables can be prepared. As healthy boyfriends reminds me, baking is not as healthy as steaming, but for me flavor comes first, and a CLOSE second is nutrition. For him nutrition is always first, which is perhaps why he has no body fat and I have been sporting a belly most of my life. :) With all this cooking, hopefully flavor and nutrition will eventually become one in the same, but it takes time for that kind of skill. I can do it! So can you!

The colors of this dish are striking and I have a feeling this will be a dish I use often. This dish is cheap, easy and I cant say how deep the flavor is. If you are having company, I would absolutely put this on the menu.

Note: When you make you Salsa verde the first taste may be misleading. After I mixed all the ingredients  at first it was very spicy, so I was unsure how much salt to add. After it sat for 30 minutes or so, the flavors really balanced out and I seasoned it with a pinch more salt then. It is crucial for this salsa to rest for at least 30 minutes, to let the flavours develop. Let your flavors grow! Just make it first, and then once you prepare and bake your cauliflower, it will be ready.

Baked Cauliflower with Salsa Verde

The Goods: Serves 4 as side dish, serves 2 as a main dish

Salsa Verde
1 medium jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced with a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice(1 large lime)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

1 medium cauliflower(about 2 pounds)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

The Deal:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. First prepare the salsa verde. In a medium bowl, combine jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and olive oil and whisk to combine. Add two pinches of salt, or more to taste(see note). Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour if possible.
can you see the flavors develop? 
3. Wash and dry the cauliflower well. Place on a large cutting board, stem side down and slice it vertically, top down, into 1/4 inch slices. You will probably only get 2-4 intact slices and the rest will be crumbs, thats normal, so don't fret.

4. Put cauliflower in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and use your hands to fully coat all the cauliflower. If you need more olive oil, add it, its imperative that all the cauliflower has a thin layer of oil.

5. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a heavy sheet pan, or use two if one is crowded. You do not want the cauliflower touching or it will steam instead of roast. Salt lightly.

No touching, NO touch!
6. Bake until the cauliflower is tender, and evenly browed in spots, about 20 to 30 minutes. You must turn the cauliflower once in the middle of baking to ensure even browning.

7. Serve Cauliflower warm and drizzle your now delicious salsa verde on top. Enjoy the grateful sounds you are sure to get from this easy and tasty dish!

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