The lesser-practised technique of roasting cauliflower whole brings out a distinctly different flavour, one that is nutty and more caramel-like. It is enhanced in this recipe by brown butter and fragrant juniper. Adding the cream is optional. Enjoy with some rye bread or buttered crispbread on a cold day.
- 4 dried juniper berries
- 1 tbsp flaked salt
- 600 g whole cauliflower
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 600 ml chicken stock
- 50 g brown butter
- 100 g crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)
- Pinch of white pepper
- Rye bread or seedy crispbreads, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the juniper berries with the salt.
Remove most of the leaves from the cauliflower, keeping a few around the base. Rub the juniper berry mixture and the oil over the cauliflower. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Check that it’s cooked through by piercing the thicker stems with a sharp knife; they should be tender. If it’s not quite ready, reduce the temperature to 170ºC and cook for a little longer.
Remove from the oven and break apart the florets, reserving the thinner leaves for a garnish.
Blend the cauliflower, adding the stock gradually. It should have a fairly thick consistency, so you may not need all the stock.
Add the brown butter, crème fraîche or sour cream (if using) and a pinch of white pepper, and blend again. Check the seasoning before serving with bread and garnished with the reserved leaves.
Recipe and image from The New Nordic by Simon Bajada (Hardie Grant, $49.95, hbk)