I made more roasted cauliflower tonight and I must admit I didn't have as much success this time around. I think the heat was too high or the pieces of cauliflower too small. Instead of being crispy yet juicy, it was dry, kind of boring, and as you can see, slightly burnt. Very disappointing since I was so excited to try this method. When browsing the multitude of food blogs, I came across this post on Gluten-Free Girl for roasted cauliflower with smoked paprika and cocoa powder. Yes! Cocoa powder! I was intrigued and convinced I'd stumbled across the holy grail of flavorful veggies. Evidently this secret weapon ingredient has roots at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), so with a bit of glee at grasping hold of this obvious leak in confidentiality, I set out on my own fact finding mission.
As I said, I think my problem was cutting the cauliflower too thinly. I usually prefer the slicing method to just separating the florets as it provides more surface area to lay flatly on the pan and therefore get brown and caramelized. Perhaps the individual florets stay juicier, though, so the jury's still out on that one. Problem number two was that I underestimated the importance of using a fine mesh sieve to sprinkle the cocoa powder over the cauliflower. In my haste, I ended up holding my colander over the pan of cauliflower and dumped some cocoa into it without much thinking, in effect burying half the cauliflower in chocolate! So, instead of a light sprinkling, I got chocolate covered cauliflower. After reinserting my brain, I could predict that this time it wasn't going to work out perfectly.
Please, try this recipe. I still have faith that it's awesome. Some good quality smoky paprika and rich cocoa powder makes for a tasty mole flavor. Let me know what you think.
Roasted Cauliflower, all sophisticated-like
1/2 head cauliflower
unsweetened cocoa powder
Slice the cauliflower in 1/4-inch thick sections, or just separate the florets into similar sizes. Toss gently with olive oil, and generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with paprika and cocoa powder. Next time I might try and do almost twice as much paprika as cocoa powder, but similar amounts of each works, too. Just don't do what I did and use twice as much cocoa! Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for about 25-30 minutes or until tender yet browned.