Seasonal local food recipe No.267 – Yotam’s Roasted whole cauliflower with creme fraiche

cauliflower-camelcsa-210809

This recipe appeared in Yotam Ottolengi’s column in the Guardian recently and I have been waiting for a cauliflower to try it out.  Yotam recommends: keep all the leaves on the head of cauliflower for this: when roasted, they are deliciously crisp and tasty. The addition of a few chopped anchovies would be a flavoursome addition to the butter: you won’t need the salt if you do this.

Serves: four as a starter.

Preparation and cooking time: 2- 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients
1 large cauliflower with its leaves intact
150g creme fraiche
1 tbsp lemon juice
70g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 tbsp olive oil
Coarse sea salt

Method
Using a pair of scissors, lightly trim the leaves at the top of the cauliflower, so that about 5cm of the cauliflower’s head is exposed.  Fill a pan large enough to fit the cauliflower in salty water. Bring to a boil and carefully lower in the cauliflower exposed head down: don’t worry if the base sticks out a little. Bring back to a boil, cook for six minutes, then transfer the cauliflower to a colander, exposed head down. Set aside for 10 minutes, to drain and cool.  Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Mix together the creme fraiche and lemon juice, and set aside in the fridge until required.  Mix the butter with the oil. Put the cauliflower stem side down in a medium baking tray and spread the butter mix all over the white flower. Sprinkle over a teaspoon and a quarter of salt, and roast for an hour and a half to two hours, basting the cauliflower with the buttery juices five or six times during cooking. The cauliflower is done when it’s super-tender and a dark golden-brown, and the leaves are crisp and charred. Remove from the oven and serve with the lemony creme fraiche and a little extra salt for sprinkling on top alongside.   Serve this in the centre of the table, for people to share with drinks at the start of a meal. Break the cauliflower apart with your hands (let it cool down a little first), dip the individual florets and crisp green leaves into the creme fraiche sauce and sprinkle with salt. For those who prefer eating with a knife and fork on separate small plates, just cut the cauli into quarters and serve individually.

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