Roasting is a perfect technique for cooking cruciferous vegetables in the fall. It is a surprise for most people that roasting produces such delicious results, the florets tasting both sweet and a little bit bitter with a lovely crunchy texture.
Broccoli, cauliflower florets, or Brussels sprouts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted pine nuts (optional)
Browned butter and capers (optional)
Crisp bacon lardon (optional)
Heat a convection oven to 425° degrees or a conventional oven to 450°. Separate the broccoli or cauliflower into evenly sized florets. If using Brussels sprouts, clean and halve or quarter them, depending on their size. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. The seasoning, especially the salt, will get more pronounced as the vegetables roast.
Spread the vegetables into a single layer and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the base is tender and the tops are nicely browned. Garnish with pine nuts, bacon, or brown butter and capers as desired. This style preparation is great served straight from the oven or at room temperature.
Dan Barber has created the now famous recipe for roasted cauliflower steaks served on a bed of cauliflower purée. He preps the vegetable by cutting through the stem end into 1-inch thick slices, yielding more surface area to obtain nutty, crisp edges. Personally, I like the steaks brushed with butter instead of olive oil. He poaches the trimmings in whole milk, purées them in the blender, and seasons with salt and pepper. I like a little butter and 2 tablespoons of parsley and scallion, one of mint added to the blender.