Ever since I adopted this recipe from a good friend and christened it “popcorn”, I have become the Pied Piper of cauliflower. Now, everywhere I go I sing its praises. Usually I am met with skepticism when I boast that it’s so good even kids devour it. After all, who woulda thunk that cauliflower could actually become addictive? But it’s true. With this dead-simple, high-temperature roasting process known as caramelization, basic off-the-rack cauliflower is miraculously transformed into sweet, lip-smackin’ candy bombs that the kids in your world—and even you—won’t be able to get enough of.
1 head cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cut out and discard cauliflower core and thick stems. Trim remaining cauliflower into florets the size of golf balls. In a large bowl, add cauliflower, olive oil, and salt. Toss thoroughly.
Spread cauliflower on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper, if available, for easy cleanup). Roast for 1 hour, or until much of each floret has become golden brown. (That’s the caramelization process converting the dormant natural sugars into sweetness). The browner the florets, the sweeter they will taste. Turn 3 or 4 times during roasting.
Use crumpled up aluminum foil or paper towels to create a false bottom in your popcorn container, fill it with cauliflower, and serve immediately.
Yield 4 – 6 servings
Uncommon goods: An empty movie theater popcorn container or aluminum Jiffy Pop package
Level of difficulty: The same as making real popcorn.
Active prep: 10 minutes
Inactive cooking time: 1 hour
Shortcuts: Buy the precut cauliflower in the lazy boy section of the produce department.
Advance work: Raw cauliflower can be precut and refrigerated for up to 2 days in an airtight bag or a bowl of water. With minimal sacrifice, cauliflower can be cooked earlier in the day and reheated in a 450°F oven for 10 minutes.
Music to cook by: James Brown, The Popcorn has Soul Brother #1 servin’ up some tasty treats.
Liquid assets: Big buttery Chardonnays may have fallen out of fashion, but they are the perfect pairing for this equally unfashionable cruciferous vegetable.