There. I said it.
First, I proclaimed my love for the mystical and luminous artichoke. And now, I confess…I can’t hold it in any more. Any resistance would be futile. I cannot keep this blaze of desire hidden from you any longer.
I’m having an affair with a cauliflower.
[gasp; glass shatters; earth stops spinning momentarily]
But, can you blame me? Just look at her. All gorgeous wrapped up in her sophisticated layers of green and a sparkling “come hither” gleam to her eye. If she had an eye. But really, if you had been there with me this morning as I traipsed along to the entrance of the market, you would have stopped in your tracks too, mesmerized, and looking the fool with a silly grin on your face as you stared at the ginormous crate of cauliflowers that beckoned you to grab one, two, or three, nary the thought of being the slightest bit gluttonous or greedy.
I smiled the entire way home, ever so careful to drive slowly around corners so as not to disturb the little angel that was nestled next to me in the passenger side seat. She was a well-behaved cauliflower, and for that I was grateful.
I knew exactly what I would do to her. Douse her with water, chop her up, lather her up with oil and throw her in the oven for a roast. That reminds me of a weird, B-rated scary flick from back in the day. Sorry, I do not mean to spook thee. My mind must still be in Halloween mode. Please, forgive.
See, I told you she had that “come hither” look!
Back to the cauliflower. Ah, yes, the roasting. Once that was complete, I drizzled her with white truffle oil (of course!) and then readied her for a tossing into a pie for an easy peasy roasted cauliflower tart, quiche, pie, whatever. This is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had. The cauliflower has a rich, earthy flavor when combined with the truffle oil and the silkiness of the Gruyere cheese really makes it divine. I add several other things like pancetta, shallots, and goat cheese to truly make it sing. It’s all of my favorite things wrapped into one heavenly dish. You must try!
Here she is, saying “Hi!” Doesn’t she look so happy?
Here’s the recipe to it. The original recipe is from Bon Appetit’s March 2007 issue, but I’ve tweaked it to make it special.
Roasted Cauliflower Quiche
Serves 8 (or 1, if you’re like me and can eat this all day long)
1 small head of cauliflower, cored, cut into 1-inch florets (I used half of a large cauliflower)
White truffle oil
1 frozen pie crust (I use Wholly Wholesome ones from Whole Foods, they’re really good)
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 oz. pancetta, diced into cubes
1 T. Dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1 C. heavy whipping cream
1/4 t. ground white pepper
Nutmeg, a pinch
1 C. grated Gruyere cheese
3/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. crumbled goat cheese
Green onions, chopped finely
Here’s how to do it:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the cauliflower florets onto a large baking sheet. Douse them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place them in the middle rack of the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn them over. Continue to roast for another 20-25 minutes or until they are fork tender. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool slightly. Cut them into smaller pieces and then drizzle with truffle oil; toss. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
On a medium skillet, brown the pancetta, adding more olive oil if necessary to cook. Once the pancetta is crispy brown, set aside in a small bowl. Add the shallots to the same pan to cook in the pancetta drippings. Cook until soft and transparent. Set aside with the pancetta.
Let your frozen pie crust thaw slightly before brushing the bottom and sides of it with Dijon mustard. Spread the onion and pancetta mixture on the bottom of the pie. Then, lay the cauliflower on top, spreading it out evenly. Put the tart on a baking sheet.
Whisk the eggs, heavy whipping cream, white pepper, nutmeg, and Gruyere cheese together. Pour the mixture over the top of the pie. Add the goat cheese on top, scattering it around to make it look pretty. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all around and then finish with the green onions.
Bake this yummy goodness in the oven for about 40 minutes or until it’s golden and the center is set. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool slightly for about 15 minutes (or as long as your desire permits. I could only wait about 5 minutes). Cut into slices and enjoy solo or with a simple, light vinaigrette salad.