So, you get it right, the way this blog works? Every other cooking blog on the planet regales you with Thanksgiving recipes in the weeks prior to the event. Bah, I say. Humbug! Now that everyone else is featuring turkey tacos, turkey tamales and turkey tettrazini, I’ll give you… Thanksgiving dishes! The ones that were on my table. Because, you know that I love to test recipes on the fly (and making any of my Thanksgiving recipes in advance would have ruined that special joy) and you know that, in cooking, as in much of life, I can’t be tied down to a plan (gnocchi, roasted green beans and cranberry sauce, anyone? Not a one found on my table on the actual day.)
Ah, well. Despite the fact that I didn’t get you this recipe in time for your Thanksgiving table, this is one dish that should not be relegated to a once-a-year holiday. So simple, so easy, so mouthwateringly delicious: this is one of those recipes that makes people rave about all-things-roasted. Or makes a certified cauliflower-hater declare his or her undying love. Or (dare I say it) tips the scales for a fence-sitting vegetarian to come back to the dark side (bacon – the Gateway Meat). In addition to all that (as if this dish needed more) it’s a pretty painless way to introduce yourself to local cooking. Ten minutes at your local farmer’s market can yield a massive cauliflower (I cooked only half of the one I picked up at last weekend’s market for $4), the best bacon you’ve ever had, and a block of grating cheese you’ve never heard of, but I guarantee will be a nice change from the delicious, but ubiquitous, parmesan. And, hey! There are farmer’s makets today. Try this one out: so simple, so delicious, and goes great with (leftover) turkey.
Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon
- 3 large pieces (about 4 oz) good-quality bacon
- 1 medium cauliflower, stemmed, broken into florets
- 1/2 cup grated hard cheese, such as Sprout Creek Ouray or parmesan
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 F (or 350 F convection).
- Fry bacon strips in a medium frying pan, turning once or twice, until nearly crisp (bacon will continue to cook upon roasting). Remove to a clean plate; strain bacon fat through a fine sieve, dampened cheesecloth or a coffee filter into a small bowl.
- Toss cauliflower florets with bacon grease and grated cheese. Crumble bacon and add, along with salt & pepper. Roast, stirring once or twice, until tender (about 30 – 40 minutes) or crispy (about 50 – 60 minutes) as you like it. Serve hot.
Serves 4 as a side.
- This side is simplicity itself: just 3 ingredients and swoon-worthily delicious. It all depends, however, on the quality of the bacon. Use the best you can find, and afford, for the best possible flavor in your dish.
- Mix it up with some of the wackily-colored cauliflowers you can find at the market: this one was neon green when it was fresh (and I brought it home drawling “brrraaaaiiiinnnss” in my best zombie voice); the purple variety stay nicely purple upon roasting, and of course, the standard white cauliflower show a nice contrast to the bacon.
Refrigerated, up to 5 days.
Fall into winter.