A vegetable that steals the whole show is where I wanted to end up with this post, and goodness this whole roasted cauliflower and creamy sauce does it.
Nutty, toasted, light and sweet this cauliflower is a star brushed with toasted sesame oil and roasted brown. It is stunning placed on the table whole and quartered for serving. Add the versatile tahini lime sauce for dredging and you are all set. A while back I put a poll on Facebook asking readers what they would like to see more of recipe wise on Set the Net and the answers ranged from 30 minute meals, to foraged Alaskan finds, to new salmon skills, to new vegetable ideas. This cauliflower is in answer to the latter. While it really does shine on its own, I know that whole roasted cauliflower ideas abound already on the internet – yet what makes this one special is the sauce, and oh what a sauce it is…
Creamy and savory it can be made thick for dipping the cauliflower and so much more… try it spread atop and baked on salmon for a flavorful contrast, added to potato salad with bacon for a twist on a classic, smear on toast to be layered with thin sliced avocado and sea salt, or even thin with additional vegetable broth and pour on for a new salad dressing. It’s possibilities are vast, let me know your favorite application and keep the recipe requests coming!
Whole Roasted Sesame Cauliflower + Tahini Lime Creamy Dipping Sauce (serves 4)
for the cauliflower
- One large head of cauliflower
- toasted sesame oil
- olive oil
- sea salt
for the tahini sauce
- 1/2 cup tahini (stirred well)
- 3 cloves garlic
- juice of 1 large lime
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- small bunch fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Choose a cast iron skillet or baking dish that accommodates cauliflower head size closely and pour just enough sesame oil in bottom of pan to coat.
Wash cauliflower head well then turn stalk side up on a cutting board and carefully core stalk from head removing leaves and hollowing the head of the cauliflower without breaking up the florets. Return head side up and using a sharp knife vent cauliflower throughout by poking slits through to the inside, careful not to break apart the florets during this task either.
Place whole cauliflower head into oiled pan, stalk side down, and using hands or a basting brush evenly coat head in 2/3 sesame oil, 1/3 olive oil. Place into preheated oven and bake for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours depending on size of cauliflower head. While baking baste cauliflower with oil in pan 3-4 times to ensure evening, deep golden browning. Cauliflower, when done, will be browned, soft to a knife prick yet still holding it’s shape.
To mix up tahini sauce, begin by mincing garlic finely, then using a mortar and pestle or the flat edge of a knifes blade and the heel of your hand, crush garlic into a rough paste. In a medium bowl blend tahini, fresh garlic paste, salt, & sugar well, squeeze in lime juice and again blend until smooth. Then slowly pour in vegetable broth stirring until smooth and fully incorporated. Lastly mince fresh cilantro leaves and add to taste.
Sauce can be made ahead and keeps well in the fridge covered tightly for several days. Sauce is best at room temperature and stirred well before serving.
Serve cauliflower straight from oven, lightly sprinkled with sea salt, quartered and paired with a generous portion of dipping sauce.