Brown Butter Memories

Food memories are an indelible part of life and with the holidays closing in on us, family traditions become second nature. Whether it has been 40 years or four days since you last tasted something, if it has personal meaning--the flavors seem to linger forever.

That's what brown butter does for me.

When I was a child, my great-grandmother, Oma, would make homemade egg noodles with golden croutons and brown butter. This dish was heavenly to me then and, today, the nutty smell of butter burning ever so slightly reignites those wonderful memories of helping Oma and Annie in the kitchen and churning out an amazing spread of food each and every Sunday for family gatherings.

While I no longer eat noodles, I can still savor the wonderful addition of brown butter. This recipe for roasted cauliflower with brown butter took me back a few years and made me feel like I was right back in the kitchen with Oma again.

Since cauliflower is popping up at the farmers market, now is the time to get your cauliflower on. Whether you've been craving cauliflower rice, roasted cauliflower or if you want to try something new, give this a try. There's no cutting the cauliflower into florets or steaming or pureeing involved.

Just roast it whole and then schmear it with soft butter. Really, it's as simple as that. And, if brown butter does for you what it does for me, sit back and be transported to another era when you take your first bite.

Buen provecho!
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter
The Cowgirl Gourmet is forever grateful to Michael Ruhlman for this recipe

Print recipe

I love cauliflower--whether it is caramelized and roasted to perfection, turned into rice or pureed into mock potatoes, it is one of my favorite winter vegetables. Roasting it whole is something I have always wanted to do, but never found a recipe that spoke to me. Until now. What I love it that the cauliflower doesn't get mushy when you roast it whole and the brown butter gives it such a great nutty flavor that I almost ate the whole thing.
Serves 2-4

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 ounces butter, softened at room temperature (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove any leaves from the cauliflower, rinse and carefully try and remove the base and core with a small knife. Place the cauliflower in a round baking dish, cast-iron skillet or something that is ovenproof.
Rub the cauliflower with the oil, place the dish in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and schmear softened butter all over the cauliflower. Sprinkle a four-finger pinch of salt and place the dish back in the oven for another 30-45 minutes, depending on how big the head is.
During this second baking phase, baste the cauliflower with the brown butter in the dish.
The cauliflower is done when you can insert a paring knife into it and feel no resistance. It should be completely tender. Serve whole for presentation, sprinkle with Maldon salt and pepper and then cut into quarters.
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