With so much yam and winter squash bound to be on the Thanksgiving table, it’s nice to have some contrast, right? I thought I’d chime in with some whites and greens. Cauliflower is in season at the moment and the heads are quite tender. Here, I roast it in slices to further bring out its sweetness and drizzle it with a quick arugula-parsley-walnut pesto spiked with a bit of feta.
Not only does cauliflower become a different species – sweeter, melt-in your mouth and lightly caramelized – after being roasted this way, but it looks pretty without much effort and is a great counterpart flavor-wise to your centerpiece turkey. Slicing the cauliflower allows for both the even roast and makes it easy for guests to slide serving a fork beneath a steak or two. The pesto with walnuts is also a great spread on its own (warning – try not to eat half of it while tasting for salt).
I love sides like this because when prepping for a crowd, you’ll be thankful you don’t have to remember too many measurements. This one is relatively free-form. If you want to make a lot, simply roast as many cauliflower slices you anticipate you need, and double the pesto. The cauliflower can stand at room temperature for a few hours. In fact I think it is great served after a little rest. For optimal freshness, the pesto can be made a few hours prior and stored covered in the fridge. With a little olive oil atop it, and plastic wrap covered tightly, you can even make the pesto a day ahead.
Roast Cauliflower Steaks with Parsley-Arugula Pesto
For the Cauliflower
1/2 large or 1 small to medium head cauliflower
sea salt + cracked pepper
1 Tablespoon or so of ShopRite Olive Oil
For the pesto
1 clove garlic
1 heaping T ShopRite Raw Walnuts
1/2 cup packed arugula leaves
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
3 tablespoons ShopRite Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Small squeeze of lemon
Small knob of ShopRite Feta Cheese (tip of thumb size)
Set oven to 450. While it’s beginning to heat up, spread your walnuts on a sheet pan and send them to the oven for 5-8 minutes to get lightly toasted and fragrant. Set aside. Slice cauliflower into rounds, allowing for disparity in size if necessary. Line a sheet pan with parchment or foil and spread the cauliflower on it. dip your fingers in the oil and brush the cauliflower all over with it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about 25 minutes until browning and softening. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile make pesto. In a food processor, whir the garlic and 3/4 of the warmish walnuts. Add the leaves, whir again. Drizzle in oil through top, scraping down sides, until emulsified but still a little chunky. Squeeze in the lemon, Throw in the feta, give it one more pulse, then remove bowl and stir in a pinch of salt and pepper, tasting for more if needed.
To serve, spread cauliflower on platter, dollop on pesto and break the last few walnuts on top.
Blog post and recipe by Meredith Napolitano of Salvegging.blogspot.com
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