I’m of the persuasion that you don’t mess with the Thanksgiving menu. Guests at my holiday table will never be served a curry turkey or Sichuan green beans. It’s the most traditional of American holidays and people come with certain hopes and expectations for this meal, most of which are based on what they’ve always eaten, and of course their memories of the sacred “pick-six” combo: roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and baked sweet potatoes (our family adds Waldorf salad to the list).
Sometimes I’ll mix it up with a little spin on a side dish, or what I like to think of as a secondary side—an addition to the sacred circle. This year I’m also going to make this roasted cauliflower. The recipe takes perfectly good roasted cauliflower and elevates the flavors in a way that makes it a lovely vegetarian dish, worthy of moving from side dish to main. After it’s scooped into a serving bowl, I can’t stop eating it, stealing little nibbles pre-dinner. Let me know if you give it a try.
1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (like basil or tarragon)
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
Finishing olive oil
Heat oven to 425.
Cut off the head of the cauliflower (at the top of the stem) so that the florets fall off. Cut the florets into smaller stems and pull them apart into yet smaller pieces. Peel the left-over stem and chop it into 1-inch pieces.
Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and spread it on a baking sheet, then sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Bake the cauliflower for 15 minutes in the middle of the oven. Then flip it all over with a spatula and bake for another ten minutes.
Combine the cheese, zest, red pepper flakes and fresh herbs in a bowl. Toss the cauliflower into the mixture, then scoop everything into a serving bowl or onto a platter, drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. You’re done.