Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Parsley Sauce in a Convection Steam Oven


Best to roast cauliflower in a convection steam oven

This whole-roasted cauliflower dish has been in the making for quite a while. I first tasted it in a restaurant in D.C. and have been trying to replicate the pure and unadulterated cauliflower taste with a nutty charred crusty exterior. It is the centerpiece of menus all over the country and beyond, to Paris and Tel Aviv. The craze has been picked up by celebrity chefs, like Jamie Oliver and Giada De Laurentiis.

According to the NY Times Recipe Lab columnist Julia Moskin: “One reason the dish has become so popular is that a whole cauliflower behaves very much like a roast of meat, in the oven and on the table. Its rough outer surface grabs onto flavor elements like fresh herbs, lemon juice and crushed spices. The whole head can be marinated or basted and browned, but the inside remains silky and tender.”

It looks so simple. But, boy, it’s easier said than done. The challenge for the home cook is to brown the exterior, while keeping the interior cooked and soft. Not mushy soft but with a bite and a satisfying toothsomeness. All that should be done with the cauliflower remains intact, not in pieces. Getting the outside browned is not an issue. But getting the inside moist and tender with a slight crunch at the same time could be a big challenge.

I like Jamie Oliver’s method of roasting the cauliflower and Giada De Laurentiis’s parsley sauce. The roasting method in Oliver’s recipe keeps the cauliflower whole. Giada’s parsley sauce helps to retain the pure unadulterated cauliflower flavor I desire. Combining the two recipes, I get a properly roasted whole head of cauliflower and a light sauce, that does not overshadow the taste of fresh cauliflower.

With some tweaking with the roasting techniques (see the tips and cheat sheet below for details), I think we have a fantastic tasting cauliflower, roasted and presented whole, and sliced up when served — just like a piece of steak, meanwhile showcasing cauliflower at its best.

Once you get the proper methodology, it is fairly straightforward to cook the head of cauliflower. Rub it with some olive oil and salt. Slow roast the whole head for an hour and a half. Make the herb sauce. The end result is a bold and gorgeous looking whole-roasted cauliflower. The clean taste, texture and aroma of fresh vegetable is what I so adore.


Roasting tips:

  • Set your oven temperature at 375°F with a pan of hot water on the bottom rack to create steam. (I set my combi-steam oven at 350°F convection and 40% steam.)
  • Roast the head of cauliflower in a preheated and hot cast-iron pan, core side down and uncovered, in the oven.
  • Don’t be afraid to deeply brown the cauliflower. It may take longer than 1 1/2 hr, depending on the oven and size of the cauliflower. Test for desired doneness, inside the cauliflower.

Bon Appetit!


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  • Reply
    January 26, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I'm glad you posted the roasting tips. I have never tried roasting cauliflower but it certainly looks good. I am a fan, sadly, my husband is not a fan of this vegetable.

  • Reply
    January 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    The proper roasting technique is what delivers the hits rather than the misses. I'm glad to hear that you're a fan!

  • Reply
    January 26, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    I like how you combine two recipes from two different chefs for one great result.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2016 at 12:12 am

    This is the first time I'm combining recipes from two different chefs. It works well for me. I guess now it opens a world of possibilities of mixing and matching similar recipes to suit our taste.

  • Reply
    Lydia Filgueras
    January 28, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Love the sound of that simple parsley sauce and the gorgeous color of the cauliflower. Just wonderful!

  • Reply
    Deb in Hawaii
    January 29, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    I keep seeing whole roasted cauliflower recipes and ideas but I haven't tried it myself yet. This looks like a great combination of Giada and Jamie for sure–love the sounds of that parsley sauce. Yum!

  • Reply
    Joyce Rachel Lee-Bates
    January 30, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Wah, sounds difficult but look at at that gorgeous head of a cauliflower! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 31, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I've been thinking about cauliflower lately since I haven't had it for a while and this recipe is definitely going on my list do soon. It looks yummy!

  • Reply
    kitchen flavours
    February 2, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    What a gorgeous head of cauliflower! It is one of my favourite veggies. And the parsley sauce sounds good. What a delicious combination!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    This is a recipe I have been wanting to try. I think cauliflower is so underused and this recipe gives cauliflower the glory it deserves! This proves that we don't need to cover cauliflower with cheese to make it delicious, but we can feature it whole with a gorgeous parsley sauce. This is fit for a queen! Gorgeous.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2016 at 4:23 am

    I've seen a lot of roasted cauliflower recipes lately. Guess it is the NEW dish to make. Guess I will have to make it. Looks so good. LOVE cauliflower. One of few veggies I really liked as a child.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    This is among the best cauliflower recipe I've come across. I made this several times again since this post.

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