Whole Roasted Cauliflower


Think cauliflower is a bland vegetable?  Delicious and impressive, this recipe will alter your thinking and I know it will make its way onto your list of favorites. The name of this elegant member of the cabbage family comes from the Latin caulis (stalk) and floris (flower).  It comes in three basic colors:  white, the most popular and readily available, green and purple (a vibrant violet that turns green when cooked.  Recently I have also seen a variety that is a bright gold.  Although you could use any color for this recipe, I think white will best show off the deep, beautiful color achieved by the roasting.

Let’s take a minute to talk about this 2 step cooking process.  I have tried roasting without first cooking in the liquid but I feel the powerful tasting broth adds a huge amount of flavor.  The simmer also tenderizes this tough vegetable allowing for less roasting time.  Too long in the oven can dry things out.  You could do step one (cooking in the liquid) ahead and save the roasting for closer to serving time.  Trust me, eyes pop when that beautiful flower all toasty and golden brown comes out of the oven.

I have included two different ways to dress this collection of florets but I urge you to go crazy and dress it anyway that makes you happy.    Here is how it goes.IMG_3943

Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis

2 ½ c dry white wine

1/3 c olive oil

¼ c Kosher salt

3T fresh lemon juice

2T unsalted butter

1T crushed red pepper flakes

1T sugar

1 bay leaf

1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed, stem trimmed


1c extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 c capers, chopped

½ c fresh lemon juice

1T lemon zest

1t Dijon mustard

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk all of the above ingredients together.

½ c fresh parsley, chopped, divided in half

Right before serving, add ½ of the parsley. Use other half for garnish.


Drizzle roasted cauliflower with extra-virgin olive oil

Sprinkle with flaked sea salt, such as, Maldon

Sprinkle with ½ c Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

2. Combine wine, olive oil, salt lemon juice, butter, pepper flakes, sugar and bay leaf with 8 cups of water in a pan large enough to hold the whole head of cauliflower. Bring this mixture to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar and salt.

3. Add the cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning every 5 minutes until a knife easily inserts into the center, about 15-20 minutes.

4. Remove the cauliflower from the water and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven until it is golden brown all over, about 30-40 minutes.

5. Transfer to a serving platter and dress as desired. Serve whole.

I guarantee this will dazzle your dinner guests.  They will be impressed by the presentation but more importantly it will tickle their taste buds.  Be prepared to share the recipe.


Don’t forget to let me know how it works out for you and remember, Queen Jeanne is always up for culinary questions.  Come on, I know you have some.


3 responses to “Whole Roasted Cauliflower

  1. Confusing. Where does the 2 1/2 c white wine come in?
    And, 1/4 c salt sounds like a lot of salt!
    But I LOVE the concept, and I have a beautiful cauliflower in my vegetable drawer that I was going to cook this evening. So, thank you!

  2. The wine is part of the cooking liquid for the first step of the process. Sounds like a lot of salt but it is important to highly season in order to infuse flavor. The cauliflower does not taste salty. Do not be afraid.

  3. Looks great. I have a head of cauliflower, and looking forward to trying out the recipe.

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