Blue Cheese-Balsamic Roasted Cauliflower

I had no intentions of making anything blog-worthy for supper last night: I marinated a large salmon filet in orange juice, bourbon, soy sauce and honey, topped it with fresh dill and broiled. This is served quite often in my home. The particularly great part of supper was not this salmon, although it is always more than satisfying, but was this cauliflower dish I threw together in a rather haphazard manner.

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that everyone loves to hate. I’ll admit that it usually not presented in the best way. As a child, cauliflower was rarely served and when it was, it was typically mushy and slathered in some yellow-orange ‘cheese sauce’ or on vegetable trays with copious amounts of ranch dressing. When I decided on last night’s vegetable, I was almost hesitant to use the big white bunch staring up at me from the crisper but I washed it and went about dissecting it. From that point, I just threw together a few ingredients from my refrigerator and cupboard. The result was almost too good to let go to the oven – I ate a good 25% of it uncooked because it was just so darn tasty. The finished product had just enough creaminess, just enough crunch and the balsamic resulted in just the right amount of caramelization. Also, cauliflower is chock full of vitamin C, K, B6 and omega-3’s, among other vitamins and nutrients, so eat up!

Blue Cheese Balsamic Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, washed and separated in florets
3 T olive oil
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 T or a good drizzling balsamic vinegar
1 T herbes de Provence
1/4 c blue cheese crumbles (blue cheese dressing would work well and lend creaminess)
1/4 c shredded Romano or Parmesan, optional.

Heat oven to 450F.

In a large bowl, toss cauliflower florets and chopped red onion with olive oil. Toss in herbes de Provence and blue cheese.

Drizzle in balsamic and stir to combine.

Place in 9×9 glass dish and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with Romano; return to oven for 5 additional minutes.

I regret to inform that this is the only picture I can provide
The Only Photograph

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Southern Caprese

Caprese is possibly one of the best little things you can throw together in five minutes or less that tastes spectacular and is a feast for the eyes. The key to a good caprese is quality, fresh ingredients. Don’t go cheap on the mozz and use the freshest tomatoes you can. And make sure your extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar are up to par.

I just adore green tomatoes and the market just happens to provide me plump and delicious ones in the late spring/early summer. I get bored easily so I couldn’t bring myself to make the typical fried green tomatoes. I had a vague recollection of seeing a green tomato caprese in some food magazine and decided it would make for the perfect light lunch. My tomatoes were from Johns Island and the mozzarella from the Charleston Artisan Cheese House.

Here’s the recipe:

2 large green tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T brown sugar
About 1 lb fresh mozzarella (keep refrigerated until ready to slice)
Whole basil leaves (large)
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl combine olive oil, balsamic, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper.
2. Add sliced tomatoes and make sure all are thoroughly covered by the vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
4. Remove basil leaves from stalks and rinse.
5. Remove tomatoes from refrigerator and grill tomatoes for three minutes on each side. (If a grill is not available, feel free to use a pan for the same amount of time.)
6. Slice mozzarella.
7. On a serving dish, evenly arrange the warm tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, removing the tomatoes from the bowl one at a time. Tomato, mozz, basil.
8. Drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette.
9. Serve immediately. Great served with sliced French bread.

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(Note: I had to cheat and use tubed basil  because I ran out of fresh leaves. However, it is best when made with whole basil leaves.)