Many years ago, when I was just starting out cooking in Chicago, my friend & co-worker Jerome and I found ourselves alone one Thanksgiving. We had to work part of the day doing prep in the kitchen, and everyone else was with family, so we planned our own feast. I rode my bike over to his apartment, where we usually met up to ride down the lakefront together to work, and he surprised me with breakfast- a version of Eggs Benedict with cauliflower instead of ham. It was the beginning of a love affair- I'll never forget the smell of braising cauliflower when I walked in, the richness of the sauce converging with a poached egg yolk, and the way it filled my belly and kept me warm the entire 7 mile ride along the lake that chilly morning. Before we left, we ate a candied chestnut as dessert- perfect.
Later that day we cooked fondue and I was instructed in the social etiquette of making sure the pot was always being stirred. We took turns dipping potatoes and bread into the thick gruyere and emmenthaler cheese concoction spiked with kirsch, listened to Chopin, and watched the grey lakefront from his Aunt's picture window. The whole day seemed otherworldly.
But, back to cauliflower: the below recipe is very tasty. I cooked it at home last night, using Pommery mustard. The mustard and lemon gave a pleasant bite to the comforting flavor of cauliflower. I do not have (and for sentimental reasons, don't often attempt) the recipe for Jerome's Eggs Benedict, but this one is similarly delicious, as evidenced by the fact that my friend and I ate the entire head of cauliflower in one sitting.
Cauliflower with mustard-lemon butter
1 head of cauliflower
1 t coarse salt
6 T butter
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T whole grain Dijon mustard
1 ½ t zested lemon
1 T chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 400F.
Butter a rimmed baking sheet.
Cut the cauliflower in half, then cut crosswise into ¼” thick slices.
Arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt.
Roast until cauliflower is slightly softened, about 15 minutes
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the lemon juice, mustard and zest.
Spoon the mustard-lemon butter evenly over the cauliflower and roast until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes longer. Before serving, sprinkle the parsley over top. Serve warm or at room temperature.