Dedicate five hours of your life to roasting a cauliflower; go ahead and do it Vietnamese-style, you’ll have plenty time to lollygag while the task completes itself.
Hot and fast vs low and slow. Each cooking method has its virtues and rewards but to coax maximum flavor out of a vegetable there is no clearer path to deliciousness than the latter.
On a morning jaunt through Fiesta Mart recently we spotted some fine looking cauliflower at a slight price so we decided to go all in and see if we could come close to approximating the world-beating tastiness of a cauliflower served to us at Domenica in New Orleans.
Five hours is only a long time if you want it to be. If you’re strung up upside down in a Turkish prison with a hulking warden playing patty pat on the soles of your feet with a cudgel then yes, it’s a good while, if you’re laid back on the couch waiting for your cauliflower to come out of the oven whilst you sojourn with a good book-it’s not so bad.
Since we were going to be running the oven for so long we went ahead and threw a big sheet pan filled with country style pork ribs in with the cauliflower too.
1 each Cauliflower
2 T. Red Boat Fish Salt
1 T. Pepper, black, cracked
Spray olive oil
* Heat oven to 260 degrees
* Rinse cauliflower head and spray thoroughly with olive oil
* Shower Red Boat Fish Salt and black pepper down upon cauliflower
* Be thorough and have a heavy hand
* Place cauliflower head on baking sheet
* Roast for 5 hours
Remove and mash soft cauliflower with a fat knob of good cow’s butter
Serve with roasted country style pork ribs
This was an experiment in low and slow cooking. Yes, you could dial the oven up to 400 degrees and easily cut your cooking time down to an hour, perhaps 75 minutes but we were intrigued to see what the flavor would be like if we treated the humble crucifer as though it were a hunk of brisket or a pork shoulder.
It’s generally agreed upon that long cook times with low temperatures is the most favorable way to treat these cuts.
At the end of the lengthy cook, the cauliflower emerged from the oven a deep, caramelized brown. It was spoon tender, redolent with the anchovy salt and made a most agreeable companion to the roasted pork.
We don’t always have time to spend five hours on a side veg but everyone gathered around the meal commented that it seemed like time well spent as the cauliflower had a singular depth of flavor.