1 large cauliflower
1/3 c. blanched almonds (I've also used slivered)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tblsp. unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. wine vinegar (red or white), or to taste
1/2 c. coarsely chopped parsley, mint, or cilantro (or a combo)
1/2 — 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
Put a cast iron skillet (or heavy skillet or pan) in the oven and
heat it to 375º. Put a small pan of water on the oven floor to
Discard the outer leaves of the cauliflower, and trim the stem and
a small bit of the core so that it stands upright, but is intact.
Rinse the cauliflower, and leave water clinging to it. Drizzle it
with olive oil, covering top and bottom, then sprinkle it with
Place the cauliflower on the pre-heated pan, core side down, and
cook until tender when pierced with a knife, at least 1 hour, and
as much as 2 (depending on its size). During the cooking, baste it
2 or 3 times with more olive oil.
While the cauliflower is baking, toast the nuts in a frying pan
over a low heat, shaking the pan often, until they're just golden
and fragrant. Set the aside to cool. Then, pulse the almonds
garlic and butter in a food processor until they're smooth. Mix in
the oil, then the vinegar, and finally the herbs and pepper
flakes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
When the cauliflower is tender, serve it in the skillet or on a
serving plate — either whole (more dramatic!) or cut in wedges,
with sauce spooned around each wedge.
Source: Adapted from The
New York Times