I think it's a shame that side dishes are so often overlooked at the holiday table. We spend all of our time obsessing over perfecting our roasted turkey, getting the perfect crust on our rib roast or stunning our guests with the most tender and flavorful ham. Meanwhile, we settle for the same old sides – mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and blah heat-and-serve dinner rolls.
The perception is that truly great side dishes take a wealth of time. But, the fact of the matter is, many of the most delicious dishes require only a few high-quality ingredients and just minutes of preparation time. Take, for instance, this stunning roasted cauliflower dish.
Roasting isn't usually the first cooking method you'd think of for cauliflower, but the delicious results make it worth remembering. There is something magical that happens when cauliflower is tossed with oil and roasted in high dry heat. Its sugars caramelize and a deep browning occurs that results in a deliciously nutty flavor.
Paired with the woodsy aroma of fresh rosemary, the nuttiness of browned butter, and the pleasing acidity of fresh lemon juice, this simple side dish will be the star of your Easter table.
Roasted Cauliflower with Rosemary Browned Butter and Lemon
2 medium heads cauliflower (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide florets (8 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
Juice and zest of one lemon
Salt, to taste
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with oil. Spread in one layer in a large shallow baking pan and roast, stirring and turning over occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.
As the cauliflower finishes roasting, melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. When foam subsides, watch closely and stir often. When the white milk solids have turned brown and the butter smells toasty, turn off heat, add chopped rosemary, squeeze in the lemon juice and zest, and stir well.
To serve, place roasted cauliflower in a bowl and drizzle with browned butter. Taste for salt, adding as necessary.
This week, March 26-30, OnMilwaukee.com presents five Easter recipes in our Dining section. You'll have the opportunity, via this contest and courtesy of Roundy's, to win the ingredients to create each featured recipe.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.