This is a recipe adapted from one I saw the other day by the English chef, Jamie Oliver. I follow him on Instagram–the fellow quite prolific in his recipes & concoctions. Herbs and spices play a large part of his cookery, and this whole roasted cauliflower surely does. I like to follow a recipe but change it up a bit if it calls for something we don’t have, or if it has an ingredient we don’t particularly care for, or if the recipe seems overly long. This is my take on his recipe. The same is true if you give this a try, change it up a bit if you see fit. I served it with an herbed chèvre stuffed chicken breast and basmati rice. The rice helping to sop up the tomato juices. OK, here we go.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I know, not 400, I surprised myself! Use a good sized, good looking whole cauliflower. Take off all the leaves. Cut the bottom of the cauliflower a bit so it lays flat in the pan and does not fall over. This will also help with even cooking. Set aside. Take 4 gloves of garlic and mince them as finely as you can. Once done, take the back of your knife and press down on the mound of garlic. Try to create a bit of a paste from it. Put all of that in a bowl. To that add a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Next take 5 or so stems of thyme and take off the leaves. Chop those up and add to the bowl. Add pinches of salt and pepper. Then drizzle in enough extra virgin olive oil to bind the mixture together, creating a lovely paste or rub. Set bowl aside. Take one can of plum whole tomatoes and put in a pot that can go into the oven that has a lid. These along with the juices in that can will create a bed for the cauliflower to sit. Put the waiting cauliflower in the pot, making sure it is sitting flat, so you might need to move a tomato or two. Then massage all that lovely rub you created over the cauliflower. Some with fall into the tomatoes, which is totally fine. Stand back and look how pretty that whole thing is. Then wash your hands. Almost there. Now cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice out of it over the cauliflower, being careful not to add any lemon seeds to the mixture. Now add a splash or two of dry vermouth or white wine over the cauliflower. The lemon and vermouth and tomato juices will marry and create a yummy steam bath for the cauliflower as well as create a sauce that is stellar with your rice. Put a lid on the whole lot and put into your hot oven for an hour. At the hour mark, take the lid off and cook for another 20 minutes. When done, you will have a beautiful whole head of cauliflower that is infused with glorious flavor. Slice up and nestle that next to whatever you are serving it with and spoon the tomatoes and sauce over rice. Your home will smell heavenly.