Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables. I am always blown away by how delicious roasted cauliflower is; just a little olive oil and some heat produces something that is far greater than the sum of its parts. All on its own it's an excellent side dish but this salad takes it up another notch with the addition of salty capers and olives, fresh parsley, and a tart lemon dressing to balance out the sweet, caramelized florets.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
1 large head (3 lbs) cauliflower
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
16 pitted Gaeta or Kalamata olives, chopped
3 tbsp capers
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Pull the leaves off of the cauliflower base. Cut off the lower part of the stem.
Cut the head of cauliflower into four quarters.
Slice each quarter into 6-8 pieces. You want as many flat surfaces as possible on each floret-- the flat surfaces caramelize best.
Place the florets in a large bowl and drizzle them with 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the minced garlic florets to the bowl. Toss the cauliflower florets till they're coated with olive oil and minced garlic.
Spread the florets out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Reserve any small bits of cauliflower that have fallen away from the florets in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cauliflower florets lightly with pepper.
Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and let the cauliflower roast for 10 minutes. While cauliflower is roasting, prep your other ingredients-- chop the parsley, juice the lemon, etc.
After 10 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use tongs to turn over the florets, making sure that the florets with flat surfaces are pressed directly against the baking sheet. This will enhance caramelization. Sprinkle the reserved cauliflower bits onto the baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the oven. Let the cauliflower roast for 10-20 minutes longer till tender. When it's ready you will be able to pierce it easily with a fork.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven. Spread it out on a large plate or platter and allow to cool.
Throw the room temperature cauliflower into a salad bowl along with the remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil, parsley, chopped olives, capers, lemon juice and red pepper flakes.
Toss gently to combine all ingredients. Season with pepper. Serve salad at room temp.