Cauliflower with Crispy Crumbs

061I enjoy all sorts of vegetables, but cauliflower is one of my favorites. As a child, my siblings and I were introduced to this cruciferous vegetable with my mother’s Macaroni and Cauliflower soup.

I use this healthy, versatile, vegetable in a myriad of ways. I make a tangy lemon and caper cauliflower that can be enjoyed hot or cold. I replace potatoes with cauliflower in roasted mash cauliflower and I have even discovered a delicious old recipe that was created for the drove of Italian immigrants that came through the St. Louie train station in the late 1800’s.

My cooking method of choice is roasting, because it really transforms this vegetable into a delicious side dish with a simple drizzle of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and salt and pepper. But, sometimes we like a slightly heartier dish (particularly when it’s a meatless meal) and the weather is on the cool side.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 cups fontina cheese
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (plain)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (robust)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Separate the cauliflower into small flowerettes (see Macaroni and Cauliflower Soup)
    In a large bowl, toss the flowerettes with the EVOO, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet, roast in a 350* for 45 minutes (cauliflower should be golden and tender).
    Don’t clean the large bowl yet, you’ll be using it to mix the cauliflower and fontina.
  2. Meanwhile, using a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and a robust olive oil, stir well.
  3. When the cauliflower is done, dump into the large bowl, add the fontina cheese and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into an oven-proof baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the cauliflower, bake in a 400* oven until crumbs are brown and crispy (about 10 minutes).

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