Numerous varieties of cool-season brassicas are in abundance right now at the Franklin Farmers Market, and in order to satisfy our cruciferous craving, we’ve prepared a marinated roasted cauliflower recipe that was inspired by Los Angeles-based chef Ben Ford. Cauliflower has an uncanny ability to take-on a multitude of flavors, and when roasted, its natural sugar caramelizes and creates a sweet, satisfying crunch. In fact, roasted cauliflower is one of our most popular cool-season dishes among our farmers and market customers, and we thoroughly believe this piquant variation is destined to please.
Cauliflower is at its peak during the fall months in Tennessee when our farmers are harvesting it fresh in the field. When cauliflower is grown locally and brought to straight to market, the flavor is clean and the vegetable maintains its turgidity and crunchiness. Beautiful heads of cauliflower can be found in classic snow-white, and also unique orange and purple-hued varieties peppered throughout our market stalls.
Cauliflower, like its cabbage and collard cousins, is particularly tasty bathed in bright tangy flavors. We think that’s why chef Ben Ford begins this roasted cauliflower recipe with a marinade of briny olives and tart lemon. A quality extra-virgin olive oil is the base for this marinade, and we like the wide selection available at Herban Market right here in Franklin. (tip: Herban Market has over 60 olive oils and balsamic vinegars ready to be sampled. If you’re curious about which olive oil would pair best with your roasted cauliflower, ask any of the knowledgeable members on staff to help you make the best selection.)
We chose fresh herbs from Bloomsbury Farm and garlic dug straight from the ground at Beaverdam Creek Farm. We also decided to slice our cauliflower heads into “steaks” instead of florets so that we could serve our marinated roasted cauliflower as either an entrée or side.
A high oven temperature is needed to produce efficiently caramelized edges on cauliflower. The sweetness plays with the briny tartness of the marinade, creating one of the most flavor-intense and palate-pleasing roasted cauliflower recipes our farmers’ market has tried. Bon appetite!
Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Olives and Herbs (adapted from chef Ben Ford’s Roasted Cauliflower)
4-5 pounds Delvin Farms cauliflower (about 2 large), core intact, sliced into 1 1/2 inch steaks)
½ cup Herban Market extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves of Beaverdam Creek Farm garlic, peeled whole clove
¼ cup capers
½ cup olives, lightly crushed and pitted
½ tablespoon fresh chopped Bloomsbury Farm thyme
2 tablespoon fresh rough chopped Bloomsbury Farm rosemary
1 lemon, large diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Create marinade for the cauliflower by combining thenextra-virgin olive oil, garlic, capers, lemons, and olives in a saucepan, and heating it over low heat. Cook slowly for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until everything has softened and broken down and is cooked. Mix in herbs and set aside. (tip: Loosen with a little extra olive oil if it’s too stiff. You want it easily fall off the spoon.)
Blanch cauliflower steaks in heavily salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove and let excess water drain. Cover cauliflower steaks with the marinade as they cool. Marinate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place cauliflower steaks on foil-lined baking sheets and roast until a butter knife inserts easily into the center, about 30-35 minutes.