Cauliflower is so delicious and filling no one will notice you aren't serving potatoes.
Cauliflower is a wonderfully versatile vegetable, which works with a host of dishes from curries to couscous. Satisfying to grow, the white, weighty crowns are a joy to pick from the garden, although you do need a knife to be able to cut them away from the stalk without a battle.
Spatchcock chicken with garlic and Parmesan cauliflower steaks (serves 4)
1 spatchcock chicken or whole chicken (see method)
25ml olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
A handful of basil, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 large cauliflower
40ml olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed 100g grated Parmesan
Salad leaves, lightly dressed
Either buy a chicken ready spatchcocked or take a whole chicken, place it breast-side down on a chopping board, cut along either side of the backbone to remove it, then open the bird out and place it breast-side up on a roasting tray.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4, then mix the softened butter, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, chopped basil, finely chopped chilli and seasoning in a bowl and brush half the mixture over the entire chicken, reserving the rest for later, and roast the bird in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the juices run clear. When the chicken is about five minutes away from being cooked, brush it with the remaining oil-and-basil mixture.
While the chicken is cooking, slice the cauliflower into steaks by cutting vertically through the core to help keep it in solid pieces (any loose florets that fall off will work well for the side recipe for cauliflower popcorn) and arrange them on a foil-lined baking tray.
Combine the garlic, oil, Parmesan and seasoning in a bowl and brush the mixture over the cauliflower steaks, before roasting them for about 10 minutes, turning them over, brushing them again and roasting them again for a further 10 minutes. Serve the chicken and cauliflower steaks immediately, with lightly dressed salad leaves—no one will even notice that there aren’t any potatoes.
More ways with cauliflower
Cauliflower couscous salad (left)
Take a large cauliflower and break it into smaller pieces—but not time-consumingly small, because it will then go into a food processor—then pulse, along with the juice and zest from a lemon, 4 cloves of garlic, 100g almonds, fresh dill and 100g Parmesan, until the ingredients take on a couscous-like consistency. Season well and serve as a delicious side dish, which goes really well with grilled fish.
Cut the florets off one cauliflower in small, popcorn-size pieces, put them into a freezer bag, pour in a generous splash of olive oil and manipulate the bag from the outside until all the cauliflower pieces are generously covered in oil. Next, add a couple of large spoonfuls of polenta flour to the bag and move it around to coat the pieces. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking tray, season generously and cook in a hot oven for 10–15 minutes or until crisp, before serving immediately.
Cheesy cauliflower soup
Cut a cauliflower into steaks (as described in the main recipe), then drizzle with olive oil and scatter with grated Cheddar, rosemary and thyme and roast— along with a sliced red onion, tossed in olive oil on the same tray—for about 10 minutes in a hot oven, then turn over and cook for a further 10 minutes or until tender. Finally, blitz the cooled cauliflower, with enough chicken stock to cover it, until smooth, reheating gently in a pan and adding a splash of single cream before serving immediately.