Sometimes, I operate under the delusion that I have excellent time management skills, that I can multi-task and that no goal is unattainable. Take this roasted cauliflower, for example. I wanted to share it with you before I left for my vacation to L.A., but I got a bit distracted and failed to do much of anything. And then I thought I might even write about this while on my vacation, but who was I kidding? Not that I didn’t have an opportunity – L.A. was rainy for the 4 out of the 6 days. So much for their eternal sunshine.
In any case, you know that cooking during the week while juggling a demanding job, a social life, and some kind of a fitness regimen can be quite daunting. You get home and you have other things to do like sort your mail, pay your bills, or tidy up around. Before you know it, cooking starts to sound like a chore and not anything remotely pleasant and you find yourself dialing your favorite take-out. Sometimes, it’s just easier not to be bothered and just throw in the towel.
But sometimes, a dish comes along that not only asks for minimal hand-on time, but cooks by itself happily and quietly. You throw a few ingredients together and magically, with a little heat, the meal transforms itself from something relatively pedestrian to something of a treat. Did I mention it was healthy and budget friendly too?
In fact, this cauliflower is so good, that I implore you to drop everything you’re doing and run to the grocery store for the ingredients you might need. It’s that good and that easy. You make a dressing with the oil and the spices, pour over the cauliflower, being sure to coat it well and roast for an hour at 400 degrees. It couldn’t possibly be less work. And yet it’ll taste like a very sophisticated dish – precisely the effect you might be going for at an impromptu dinner party, where your guests, not devout vegetable eaters, not only serve themselves seconds, but confess that you can make any vegetable taste good and should you make them an entirely vegetarian meal, they wouldn’t mind one bit. Now, that’s high praise in my book.
Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Spices and Yogurt Dressing
For the cauliflower:
1 (2-pound) head cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sambar powder
For the Yogurt Dressing:
1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint (or just use cilantro without the dill or mint)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
Position the oven rack in the middle and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and place in a deep bowl or, better yet, a plastic bag.
In another bowl or cup, combine the seasonings and spics with the olive oil, and drizzle over the cauliflower. Mix well and allow the dressing to coat cauliflower evenly.
Spread the cauliflower on a (9×13-inch) baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cauliflower is nicely browned around the edges. Periodically peek inside the oven and stir the cauliflower around.
While the cauliflower is roasting, combine the yogurt, dill, mint, cumin, and salt together and keep cool (like the refrigerator).
Transfer the cooked cauliflower to a serving platter, and serve with the yogurt sauce drizzled over it or on a side.