Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter Breadcrumbs and Pecans

Roasted cauliflower

There will be a lazy river, poolside cabanas, and sexy acrobats. Buffets, bikinis, and nights dancing to Beyoncé and Britney. This neon-bright respite from real life will be followed by all the tacos I could want, food trucks, and brisket.

I’m counting down the days (there aren’t many left!) until my spring break. That’s right, school’s been out for a while for me but I’m reclaiming spring break. I’m splitting a week between Vegas (my first visit!) and Austin.

This has quickly become a month packed with both work and fun. I’m working on a couple cover stories for Taste on brunch and the vegetable of the moment, cauliflower. As I try to figure out how to pack the perfect suitcase for two very different cities, I’d like to share an easy recipe with you, Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter Breadcrumbs and Pecans. Golden brown cauliflower is good on its own but it’s nice to amp it up every now and then, in this case with toasted nuts and nutty breadcrumbs. This one hits all the right notes.

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Spring Break. You in?

Where are you jetting off to? If  you have any favorite spots in Vegas or Austin, please share in the comments!

Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter Breadcrumbs and Pecans

Let’s start by breaking down the cauliflower. Trim the green leaves at the bottom. You can toss them into a salad or soup but you won’t use them for this recipe. Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Take each quarter and cut cauliflower into bite-size or 1-inch florets.

Like its brethren, brussels sprouts and kale, cauliflower does very well when browned and roasted in a hot oven. This recipe amps up those toasty, nutty flavor notes with breadcrumbs and pecans.  The pecans and breadcrumbs can be made ahead and will leave you with some leftovers for salads and other meals. Each will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

1 head cauliflower (about 1 ½ pounds)
olive oil
kosher or coarse salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed slightly with the side of a knife
½ cup whole pecans
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped chives or spring onion

Heat oven to 400°F.

Toss cauliflower in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil to coat florets. Season with 1 teaspoon salt. Spread cauliflower out on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so to make sure all sides are browned. About halfway through, toss 6 garlic cloves in with the cauliflower.

Meanwhile, bake the pecans on another rack in the oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer nuts to a bowl or cutting board to cool. When cool enough to touch, chop the pecans.

To brown the butter, melt it in a saucepan over medium heat until it pops, crackles, and then quiets down. The butter will turn brown and fragrant. At this point, add the bread crumbs, turn down the heat slightly, and stir until the bread soaks up the melted butter. Cook through until the bread crumbs darken slightly in color and crisp a bit, a few more minutes. Transfer bread crumbs to a jar.

Place the roasted cauliflower and garlic cloves on a platter. Sprinkle with ¼ cup toasted pecans, about ¼ cup breadcrumbs, and chives. Finish with a sprinkling of flaky salt and a drizzle of olive oil if you’d like. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Comments

comments

10 thoughts on “Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter Breadcrumbs and Pecans

  1. I never get tired of cauliflower – love this! Vegas gives me the heeby jeebies but the desert just outside is amazing. Red Rock Canyon, and any small town in any direction in Nevada is full of character.

    • I was kind of surprised by how much I enjoyed Vegas! The weather was lovely and the nine of us (it was a big group!) just had such a great time. I hope I get to explore the rest of Nevada some time. I’ve been telling Danny I really would love to see the desert soon, and New Mexico is on my list as well. Something about it. Maybe it’ll become my Montana. 😉

  2. Mmmm, this looks delicious. It’s a shame cauliflower and such vegetables have bad reputations when they can be transformed into little sprigs of deliciousness like this. 🙂 roasted cauliflower FTW!

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