Dear SOS: I'm not a fan of cauliflower, but on a recent trip to Napa I dined at Ad Hoc and had the most amazing side dish of rice with roasted cauliflower. I would love the recipe.
Sainam Khan Culver City
Dear Sainam: This deceptively simple dish contains a wealth of layered flavors. Roasting the cauliflower concentrates the vegetable's flavor while softening it to buttery tenderness, the rich caramelization complemented with a sprinkling of earthy curry powder. Tossed with rice spiced with a pinch of chili flakes, the dish is finished with bright crunch from fresh green onion. A perfect harmony in every mouthful.
Ad Hoc's rice with roasted cauliflower
Total time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 to 10
1/2 head white cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
Pinch of curry powder
6 cups water
1 cup Carolina, or long grain, rice
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the canola oil and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste.
3. Place the cauliflower in a roasting pan (reserve the bowl) and roast until the cauliflower is a deep brown and tender throughout when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing every few minutes for even coloring and cooking. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees.
4. While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the rice: In a large saucepan, add the water and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and chili flakes and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the rice just until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice well, then spread the rice in a thin shallow layer in a large baking dish.
5. Place the rice in the oven to dry out for 5 minutes. Remove, then stir in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper.
6. Place the cauliflower back in the bowl and toss with the curry powder. Taste and season, if desired, with additional salt and pepper.
7. Gently stir in the warmed rice and butter, tossing until the butter is melted and evenly coats the rice and cauliflower. Stir in the green onions and serve immediately.
Each of 10 servings: 136 calories; 2 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 6 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 68 mg. sodium.