I’ve started joking with my family when they’re like mmmm love those potatoes, and I’m all, you mean the butter with a little potato? Yeah, it’s local.
I use local butter and buy it in two pound logs and that makes it healthy, and environmentally friendly, and community-conscious, and an all-around good choice. Showing you this recipe is doubly relevant today because we watched the “Fat” episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat last night and HOLY COW HOW INSPIRING. The show itself is phenom, the setting is gorgeous, we learned a ton (I think I safely speak for Jay when I say that we, as a couple, like learning about food in all the ways all the time), and I came away with about ten new ideas for holiday cooking specifically. Highly recommend you watch it this week all the way through so we can discuss.
So, given the fat theme, it makes perfect sense that we roast our cauliflower in butter. Good butter, enough butter so that you know it’s there, butter butter butter. The concept here is super easy: some raw ingredients (literally salt, fat, acid) in and on a whole cauliflower, some liquid and cherry tomatoes to bring everything together, roasty toasty, and fresh herbs to finish. We served this a few weeks ago with some chicken and veggies, but honestly I could eat half of this cauliflower with a hunk of bread and call it dinner. I use chicken stock here because we aren’t vegetarian, but veggie stock would be wonderful for a truly vegetarian option.
You need! A whole cauliflower, just trim the outer green stuff. Then butter, a whole lemon, chicken stock, cherry tomatoes, salt/pepper, and fresh thyme. I’ve used fresh thyme in TONS of recipes recently (because I bought the box and so…gotta use it), and I’m super into it as a fall herb – fresh basil is lovely and ours is still alive, but there’s something earthy about the thyme that goes so nicely with the cooler weather.
Start by preheating the oven to 400F, zesting the lemon, and grab a skillet or small baking dish – just slightly wider than the cauliflower. I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet and would have used something smaller if I’d had it. Melt the butter in a small dish and stir the lemon juice into the melted butter. Flip the cauliflower upside down and pour about 2/3 of the mixture into the cauliflower, shaking it around as you go. A lot of it will come out, so shake it enough to help it coat the inside of the cauliflower.
Turn the cauliflower right side up and place it in the center of the skillet, then pour the remaining butter/lemon juice on top. Pour the stock into the bottom of the skillet, scatter the tomatoes around the base of the cauliflower, and sprinkle the entire thing liberally with salt and pepper.
Now, roast! 40-50 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and brown and the sauce has reduced a bit. Sprinkle the lemon zest and fresh thyme on top, and some extra flaky salt for crunch and flavor.
See what I mean about crusty bread being all you need? Now, I like cauliflower, but I’m not obsessed with it – it’s just kind of a veg we eat because we eat veggies, you know? This, however, is one of those yummy preparations that makes you want more and more. This is definitely no side dish filler vegetable.
I love this for its simplicity, but it tastes and looks fancy enough that it’d be perfect for a holiday meal or fun get-together. I sliced this like a pie and fanned the pieces out for easier serving, but it’s super pretty in one piece straight from the oven, and tender enough that you could use two forks to break it apart into more uneven chunks for serving.
The cauliflower gets almost creamy in the oven, and the tomatoes with broth, butter, and lemon juice create their own sauce that is just to die for. I’m also now thinking we should grow cauliflower in our garden next spring. Enjoy this!
The most tender, flavorful cauliflower. Enjoy as a side dish or with crusty bread for dunking in the sauce to make a light but filling vegetarian meal.
- 1 whole cauliflower, greens trimmed and discarded
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 400F. Melt the butter and whisk it together with the lemon juice. Turn the cauliflower upside down and pour 2/3 of the butter mixture into the cauliflower, shaking it around a bit to help it stick.
Turn the cauliflower over and place it in an 8-10 inch skillet or baking dish (some of the butter will spill out, that's ok!). Pour the rest of the butter and lemon juice on top of the cauliflower. Pour the stock into the bottom of the dish and scatter the tomatoes around the cauliflower. Sprinkle the entire dish liberally with salt and pepper.
Roast the cauliflower for 40-50 minutes until browned on top and tender to the stem. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the lemon zest and fresh thyme leaves.
Cut into wedges or serve whole, with any accompaniments you'd like. Enjoy!