I've never been to New Orleans. Considering all the places I've travelled in my life and my love of food, even I find this shocking. However, as unfounded and short-sighted as it may be, I have ingrained prejudices that just won't allow me to make the short trip. When I think of New Orleans, I think…..dirty, drunks, showing of the tits, and crime. Hurricane Katrina didn't help matters.
Everyone tells me that while all of that is true on or near Bourbon Street, there really is another side to New Orleans that doesn't include any of that. And I know that someday I'll bite the bullet. If only to have lunch at Galatoire's. And dinner at Domenica to have their signature cauliflower.
THIS will change your mind about cauliflower. It's tender and, at the same time, crisp. It's precooked in a seasoned poaching liquid that infuses it with flavor and then roasted in the oven to get it's edges crisped.
And then you dip it in this heavenly mixture of goat cheese, feta, and cream cheese. Oh. Mah. Gawd.
And I love the presentation of serving it whole and letting everyone break off their own florets! Rustic and fancy!!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
with Whipped Goat Cheese
Domenica, New Orleans
2 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed
Whipped Goat Cheese
4 oz. fresh goat cheese
3 oz. cream chess
3 oz. feta
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
Coarse sea salt (for serving)
Roasted Cauliflower: Preheat oven to 475 deg. Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
Using 2 slotted spoons or a mesh spider, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet (I used my cast iron skillet lined with parchment), draining well. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30 to 40 minutes. (I turned on the broiler for the last few minutes to get t he color on top that I wanted.)
Whipped Goat Cheese: While cauliflower is roasting, blend goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, cream and 2 tbsp olive oil in a food processor until smooth; season with sea salt. Transfer whipped goat cheese to a serving bowl and drizzle with oil. (I also sprinkled on some red pepper flakes) This can be made a day ahead. Cover; chill.