I’m always looking for ways to spruce up simple, ordinary dishes, and I often turn to my trusty spice cabinet for culinary inspiration. Cauliflower is about as drab a vegetable as you can find in the supermarket, so making it into something fun and vibrant (and enjoyable to eat) was on the top of my list.
You can find yellow, orange, even purple cauliflower in some grocery stores these days, but for the most part those Technicolor specimens are hard to come by. Instead what we home cooks have to work with is bland and boring white. Yes, a white canvas is a wondrous thing just screaming possibilities for artists, but white food—unless it’s mashed potatoes, chocolate, or ice cream—can be kind of scary for the cook. We eat with our eyes as much as we do with our taste buds and olfactory glands, which makes food color almost as important as taste and smell.
Now adding color AND flavor to the cauliflower was my ultimate goal and, as I scoured the Internet for inspiration, I noticed that cauliflower often came up in conjunction with Indian food, one of the most vibrant and colorful culinary traditions around. For someone who loves Indian flavors as much as I do, it was a no-brainer combining the brilliantly hued spice powders of India with something as blah as cauliflower.
What spice, more than any other, is prized for the gorgeous color it imparts to everything it touches? Well, yes, saffron is loved for it’s almost neon yellow color, but I’m talking about that more familiar, non-budget buster spice rack staple, turmeric.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and it’s used primarily for the vivacious yellow-orange color it imparts. For example, it’s often used in mustard. If you were ever wondering how your mustard got to be so gosh darn yellow, now you know. It’s also used in cheese, sauces, jams, butter, curries and pickles in both the Western world and in Asia. Turmeric has a very distinct earthy, slightly bitter taste and a piquant mustardy smell. Turmeric does come in root form, but more often than not you will find it as a powder, which is what I use.
A little turmeric sprinkled on those bland cauliflower florets really does take them from bland to grand. I’ve been making this dish for a quite a few months now, and I’ve yet to have any complaints. In fact, my boyfriend, Doug, even makes this dish for himself when I’m not around. That’s how I know this dish really is a keeper.
OH YEAH … I forgot to mention that I’m now a FoodBuzz Featured Publisher! Wohoo!
This beautiful side dish is great way to change up your normal culinary routine. Click here to download a copy of this recipe.
One (3 lb) head of cauliflower, cored and separated into 1-inch florets
1 large onion, halved and cut into wedges
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and pepper
¼ c. chopped parsley or cilantro
Toss and roast. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the cauliflower and onion with olive oil, garlic, turmeric, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and beginning to brown. Scrape the cauliflower into a serving bowl, garnish with parsley or cilantro. Serve hot or warm.