Friday, October 25, 2013

Roasted Romanesco cauliflower with coriander seeds

The local New York farms have had a great crop of Romanesco cauliflowers this year. Hence instead of eating their white cousins, we have been eating more of these green ones with its tower like florets. Sweeter and milder, they roast well and take to absorbing different flavors. Tonight I roasted them simply with garlic, coarsely ground coriander seeds and chili flakes. The lemony coriander perfumes the cauliflower along with the garlic. Freshly ground coriander seeds will give you the best results.

Roasting them in a very hot oven, caramelizes the cauliflower instead of steaming them and the green kind has less moisture. Hence it browns quicker with less oil. I served it as a side with a spinach and sun-dried pesto linguini.

Roasted romanesco cauliflower with coriander seeds

1 medium head of Romanesco cauliflower
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1/2 - 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes [depends on how hot you like you food]
3/4 - 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Olive oil to coat the florets
A 12 x 18 inch baking sheet

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Put the baking sheet in the middle rack to pre-heat as well.
  2. Crush the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle with a little salt - the friction helps to stop the seeds from flying out of the mortar. Alternately, if you have a spice grinder or coffee grinder give them a quick buzz to avoid making a powder - the seeds should be coarsely ground.
  3. Remove the leaves and the hard core of the cauliflower and separate the florets. If the core is soft, then cut them into 2 inch spears. Quarter the florets lengthwise to expose the most surface for caramelization.
  4. Transfer the cauliflower florets to a large mixing bowl and toss well with olive oil, minced garlic, crushed coriander seeds, dried chili flakes, and salt. Lay out in a single layer on the preheated baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes till the florets are lightly caramelized at the edges.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 3 to 4.