Verdict: win

I was never impressed with cauliflower growing up. Then I discovered the beauty of roasting vegetables: roasting brings out sweetness that enhances the true flavor of the vegetable. This recipe transforms cauliflower into a naturally sweetened, salty, and spicy side. I also love the crispiness of roasted vegetables - there's something magical about those little charred ends.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower from Leite's Culinaria
Yield: 3-4 servings

1 medium head cauliflower
3 tablespoons vegetable or mild olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).

Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Then cut away the thickest part of the core. You can now pull the florets apart with your fingers or cut them with the tip of a paring knife. You want the florets to be 1 1/2 inches or so in size. (Cutting the cauliflower into uniform pieces is essential for even roasting. You should have about 4 generous cups florets.) Place the cauliflower in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, chili powder, paprika, salt, and a good grinding black pepper. Pour over the cauliflower florets and toss to thoroughly coat.

Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring after 10 to 15 minutes. You want the cauliflower to be deep golden and beginning to crisp at the edges.

Serve the roasted cauliflower with the lime wedges, if desired.


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