Now before you get all up in my grill, I'm not dissing cauliflower or any of the talented chefs that prepare it. Cauliflower is delicious, and why shouldn't it be trending right now? I know that restaurants have to factor in overhead when pricing appetizers, even inexpensive ones, but still. Eleven dollars? Next time there'd better be some caviar on that cauliflower!
If you too get so blinded by your love for cauliflower that you're tempted to pay exorbitant amounts of money for coaster-sized portions, here's a tip: make it at home. One way to prepare it is simply to roast it in a little olive oil. The secret is in the browning. No pale, waterlogged cauliflower here. Concentrating and caramelizing the sugars brings out the best flavor.
Once you learn how to make awesome cauliflower yourself, you can take those eleven dollars you just saved and spend them on something else on the menu, like a second cocktail or a fancy dessert you'd never make at home. Or a whole bushel of cauliflower at the cauliflower store!
I find it's better to cut the cauliflower into flat slices rather than lumpy florets so you have as much surface area in contact with the hot pan as possible for maximum browning. Cut the cauliflower into half-inch-thick slabs and cut the core out of the middle slices. They will naturally separate into bite-sized pieces while cooking.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cauliflower, sliced into 1/2-inch thick slabs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Coat a sheet pan with a thin film of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. (You might need two pans depending on the size of your cauliflower.)
Lay the cauliflower in a single layer on the pan. No crowding. You don't want the pieces to sit too closely together or they'll steam more than roast. Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower on the bottom rack of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bottoms turn a golden shade of brown. Flip and cook 10 to 15 minutes more until the other side browns and the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Serve hot.