Roasted Cauliflower with Relish

Roasting broccoli is one of my favorite ways to have it — it’s a nice change from boiling or steaming it and dressing it with butter (although that’s pretty delicious too). We decided to try roasting cauliflower this time because we had a bunch of florets left over from crudites at a party. We both thought it was tasty, though I liked the relish and my husband did not.

The recipe, from Bon Appetit, gives instructions for using a whole cauliflower and cutting it into thick slices. I just used the florets and it worked fine. This recipe, by the way, is a great way to use leftover cauliflower — just scale the ingredients accordingly. I also used regular tomatoes (which were leftovers, too) instead of the plum tomatoes.

Implements you will need:
Cutting board
Large knife
Small bowl
Large oven-proof skillet
Large rimmed baking sheet

Serves 4

1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 cup pitted oil-packed black olives, finely chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped or thinly sliced
3 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided, plus more
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered

Trim the stem end of the cauliflower all the way to the base, leaving the core intact. Place cauliflower core side down on a work surface. Using a large knife, slice cauliflower into four thick “steaks,” starting from the center of the cauliflower and moving outward.

Some florets will break off during slicing. Finely chop them to measure about 1/2 cup. Transfer them to a small bowl and mix with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. oil, parsley, and lemon juice. Season relish with salt and pepper.

Heat the oven to 400F degrees (205C degrees). Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding 1 Tbsp. olive oil to pan between batches. Transfer steaks to a large rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven.

Reserve the skillet. Roast cauliflower until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add minced garlic and tomatoes, one cut side down. Cook until tomatoes are browned, them turn the tomatoes over and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast garlic and tomatoes until tender, about 12 minutes, keeping the cauliflower in the oven.

Transfer the garlic, tomatoes, and 1/2 Tbsp. oil to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Divide tomato sauce among plates. Place 1 cauliflower steak on each plate and spoon the relish on top.

What to do with leftover tomato paste

I rarely buy cans of tomato paste because usually all I want is a little bit and I don’t know what to do with the rest. In London, I was able regularly to find tubes of tomato paste, which were convenient because I could squeeze out just a little at a time — however much I needed for a particular recipe. If they make that here in the States, I haven’t found it.

But I just read a clever tip that solves the issue of the cans. In “The Big Book of Casseroles,” author Maryana Vollstedt recommends freezing tablespoonfuls of tomato paste separately on a piece of foil in the freezer, and when they’re frozen, putting them in a bag for use later. I love it. Now I can get those cans and make full use of them.

Simple Vegetable Curry

This thick curry is a great way to use up any leftover vegetables. I had a bunch of cut vegetables leftover from a weekend cookout, and I was able to use them all. I found the recipe on one of my favorite food sites, LoveFoodHateWaste.

I recommend scaling the recipe based on how many vegetables you have to use. Serve it over rice, and bon appetit.

675g leftover vegetables of any type (I used zucchini/courgettes, eggplant/aubergines, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and even celery. Other ideas include potatoes or sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, baby corn, cauliflower, and green beans.)
2 tablespoons canola/rapeseed oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (yes, you do want to use this many)
100g block creamed coconut*, diluted in 200ml of warm water
4 Tbsp. red curry paste, such as Madras or Masaman
14 oz./400g can chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Cilantro (coriander sprigs) to garnish, if available (don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand)

If using potatoes, boil them in salted water for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside. Chop them and all the vegetables in big chunks and set them aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a large splash of the coconut “water” and curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until mixture resembles a very thick paste.

Add the vegetables, salt, and the remaining coconut water. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the vegetables are tender. Ganish with cilantro, if you have it, and serve atop basmati rice.

*I was new to creamed coconut when I began this recipe, but I found it easy to use and with a fresher coconut flavor than coconut milk. Here is a great explanation of coconut ingredients.