TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 5 - 6, as a side dish
Adapted from NYT Cooking
Peeking through the leaves of a cauliflower plant in October and finding its white, creamy center is one of the best Fall surprises a grower can experience. Toasted nuts, lemon & herbs haven’t failed me yet, and they surely do justice to a beautiful head of long-awaited cauliflower.
1 medium head cauliflower, florets & tender inner leaves chopped
3 tbls. olive oil
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch crushed red pepper flakes (opt.)
1/2 cup almonds
2 tbls. Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juice & zest, plus more to taste
2 tbls. capers or chopped green olives (opt.)
1 - 2 oz. feta (opt.)
Heat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower & leaves with olive oil, salt, pepper & optional crushed red pepper flakes. Spread evenly onto a large baking sheet and roast until crisp and golden, about 25 minutes (the really crispy bits are the best), stirring & rotating the pan halfway to ensure even browning.
Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes to avoid burning. Remove from heat, roughly chop, and set aside.
Once the cauliflower is roasted, toss it in a large, shallow bowl with half the almonds and 1 tbls. parsley. Mix in capers/olives and feta if using. Top with remaining almonds, parsley, lemon juice & zest, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt to taste.