Here’s an assignment for you: the next time you’re at the dinner table, take a look at your plate. Now, how many colors do you see? Points if it’s more than green and beige. Believe me, I know it’s not easy. I am constantly looking at that big pile of mush in my pan, wondering how to brighten it up. Especially now, in the dead of winter, it seems like it’s harder than ever to get some color in our dishes.
But why is it so difficult? Aren’t there fresh ingredients out there that can jazz up these vapid meals?
As a matter of fact, there are. Case in point, cauliflower. Now, I know some of you out there aren’t fans (I’ve seen the “I Hate Cauliflower” Facebook groups), but I think it’s time to give it another shot (I have to wonder if the naysayers out there have only had it boiled or steamed). A big bowl of roasted cauliflower, particularly cauliflower that is bright green, purple, and orange, is one of those simple treats that should not be missed.
Not only is the stuff full of nutrients (high in Vitamin C) and is a great source of fiber (because we could all use more of that in our diet), but you get a wonderful nutty flavor when it is lightly roasted in the oven. Texturally, the florets remain crunchy on the inside, but the outside is a bit tender, which is exactly how all vegetables should come out when they’re cooked.
Oh, yes… and the colors! If you are looking for a way to liven up your plate, this will do the trick. The folks at Colorful Harvest (as well as Paper Chef, the company that created the parchment paper used here), who were sweet enough to provide a massive quantity of cauliflower, are big proponents of chromatic diversity, and I think it’s something we should all strive for.
Roasted Tri-Colored Cauliflower with Preserved Lemon
1 small head of purple cauliflower
1 small head of orange cauliflower
1 small head of green cauliflower
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 preserved lemon, peel only, cut into thin slices
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a large baking pan with parchment paper.
Cut the cauliflower into florets and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil and toss to combine. Spread the cauliflower out on the baking pan and sprinkle the smoked paprika, salt and pepper on top.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, checking after 15 minutes and giving the cauliflower a stir and seasoning it with an additional sprinkle of salt and pepper, if necessary. The cauliflower will be done when it is golden brown in color and tender on the outside, but it should remain crunchy on the inside. Remove from oven.
Transfer the cauliflower back to the large bowl and add the preserved lemon peel. Toss with a spoon to distribute the lemon peel throughout the dish.