Do you find yourself making the same old side dishes all the time?
I know I do. With me, it’s usually potatoes: mashed, creamed, hash brown casserole, roasted, baked. After a while, they all lose their luster.
So the other night, with a whole chicken roasting in the oven, I was preparing to make my usual combination of roast potatoes and carrots. Then I came across the partial head of cauliflower in the frig’s vegetable drawer. The cauliflower triggered the memory of a recipe I had read a few days earlier in an issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. The recipe was for pasta with roasted cauliflower, which had caught my eye because it seemed like an odd combination. At our house, cauliflower is generally made into a creamed soup or microwaved and served with cheese sauce over top.
But the idea of roasting cauliflower — perhaps with some potatoes? —sprang to mind, so I referenced Martha’s recipe. It suggested tossing the cauliflower with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and seasonings, then spreading it on a baking sheet to be roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes. I didn’t check the suggested baking temp. The oven was set at about 350 degrees for the chicken, so I just went with that.
I divided the cauliflower into small florets and cut the potatoes into a comparably sized large dice. Then the whole lot was tossed with olive oil, seasoned salt and a bit of a spicy seasoning mix. I checked the mixture about 15 minutes into the roasting time and found that it had started to stick to the pan, but a metal spatula got it unstuck with little residue left behind. After that, I stirred it every 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes and cauliflower were all turning a lovely golden brown.
The potato/cauliflower stuff would have been perfectly done at just about the 40 minute mark. Unfortunately, the chicken took a bit longer than we anticipated, so it might have gotten a bit overdone.
But I do recommend roasting the cauliflower — it develops kind of a nutty flavor — and in combo with the potatoes, it was a nice diversion from the same old, same old.