Cauliflower has had a glow-up.
In recent years, it has busted out of its shell and gained popularity as an alternative to other foods.
There’s the rice alternative, in which cauliflower is grated on a large box grater or broken down in a food processor into small, ricelike pieces, then cooked until soft. There’s the mashed potato alternative, when cauliflower is cooked and pureed with things like milk and cheese. And there’s even the steak alternative, where you cut the cauliflower into thick slabs and roast it in the oven or in a skillet with plenty of olive oil and salt and pepper until it’s soft.
The plethora of trendy cauliflower preparations hasn’t left much room in my kitchen for regular ol’ steamed cauliflower. But this recipe makes steaming sexy again.
Lemony Cauliflower with Brown Butter
1 small head cauliflower, broken into larger florets
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup hazelnuts or almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1 lemon, halved for serving
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Herb sauce (recipe below)
Place cauliflower in a steamer basket set over a large, lidded pot (preferably wider than taller) of boiling water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and steam until cauliflower is totally tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (You can check the doneness by piercing it with a paring knife or fork.)
Meanwhile, heat butter and hazelnuts in a small pot over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pot occasionally, until the butter has melted and begins to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or small whisk, stir the butter, making sure all the milk solids and hazelnuts are browning evenly. Add olive oil and continue to cook until both the butter and hazelnuts are deeply golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Once the cauliflower is done, use a potato masher or large fork to gently crush it into bite-sized pieces. Transfer cauliflower to a large serving platter or plate and drizzle with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Spoon hazelnut mixture over the cauliflower and top with chives and flaky sea salt. Serve alongside lemon halves for squeezing.
Source: Adapted from Alison Roman
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Blend a handful each parsley and basil in a food processor with olive oil, red wine vinegar, lots of salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. Whiz until combined; if it’s still pretty thick, add some more olive oil until it’s like a thin paste. You don’t want it totally liquidy, but it should be able to slide off a spoon pretty easily when scooped.