A Whole Other Beast

It might seem hard to believe, but it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. Chances are you already have plans in place for your feast. You know who’s coming to the table, what time you’ll start your bird, and which side dishes you’ll have, too. But are you counting on the vegetarian in your family to just eat the sides? This year, make them something special.

In fact, even though I eat meat, I don’t really care for turkey. For me the rest of the meal is far superior to the traditional centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. Still, I like the presentation of a whole roast something on the table. Just, something tender and delicious instead of what is usually an over-cooked dry, tasteless turkey. 

In recent years I’ve added a dish to the menu that feels like a show-stopper in the same way, but is a very different kind of whole roast beast - a cauliflower, roasted whole and drizzled with a flavorful vinaigrette as it makes its way to the feast. As you place it down, the cauliflower demands the attention of all your guests, the same way a turkey does, yet, it tastes better. Slice the head into steaks and watch it move onto plates faster than any bird. IK


Whole Roast Cauliflower with Caper sauce

Serves 4 to 6


1 (2 pound) head of cauliflower
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon drained capers
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 450°F. 

Core the cauliflower, leaving the head intact, and put the cauliflower in an oiled pie dish. Brush or drizzle the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. 

Bake in the middle of the oven until tender and browned, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Transfer to a serving dish.

Whisk together the lemon juice, capers, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, then whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons oil.

 Drizzle the cauliflower with the dressing and sprinkle with the parsley. Slice and Serve.


Ian KnauerComment