As I’ve mentioned may times before, I am a big fan of Pinterest especially as it comes to finding recipes. What I like about the site is one’s ability through “pins” to access websites that might not come to the top of a Google search, so you’re basically connecting with little known sites that you may never have found otherwise. And I have found these sites to be great resources for information and new ideas for the kitchen.
So as I was browsing Pinterest the other day I came across the pin for a recipe called balsamic parmesan roasted cauliflower. It was pinned from the website http://www.kidneybuzz.com. Now doesn’t balsamic parmesan roasted cauliflower sound divine? And since I’m always looking for new ways to roast vegetables I just had to give the recipe a try.
When I evaluate recipes I look for a few simple things. First, are the directions clear – second, is it easy to prepare – third, can you be successful the very first time you make it, and fourth, did the recipe tell you everything you needed to know (as I find quite often recipes do not – especially where chefs-in-training are concerned). So here is my rating and lessons learned making this recipe:
Rating: C- with the potential for an A. I have never been so psyched to make a recipe and been so disappointed. I’m getting to the point though where I am starting to trust my own instincts versus just doing what is written. After some interesting lessons learned I would try this recipe again, as I do believe it has the potential to be an “A” rated recipe.
Lesson Learned 1: This recipe called for cooking the cauliflower from 20-30 minutes at 450. I will tell you right now if you do that you will have limp overcooked cauliflower. I’ve roasted cauliflower before and never over 400. But I thought, ok, I’ll compromise. I’ll roast it at 425. Big mistake!! The cauliflower came limp and overdone. I like my roasted vegetables to have some crispness to them. If you like them limp then cook them longer. In my opinion (and I roasted rather large florets) 15 – 20 minutes max at 400 is my recommendation.
Lesson Learned 2: This recipe does not tell you how to roast with balsamic vinegar, and that can be tricky. The proportions are perfectly fine, but you need to make sure that the cauliflower is primarily coated and not the pan. Otherwise you will have a sticky, gooey hard to clean mess because (unless this is different in high altitude) balsamic vinegar doesn’t evaporate as the recipe suggests, it burns especially in any concentrated amounts. That’s why I say make sure the cauliflower is covered in it and you don’t leave a puddle of it in your pan. If you do, clean up will be a nightmare (and in my opinion they should tell you these things in a recipe). I would also either spray your pan with cooking spray or line it with foil so that any balsamic that does not “evaporate” can be easily cleaned.
Lesson Learned 3: Tossing the cauliflower half-way through the cooking process is a must. That way you will get an even caramelization and the cauliflower won’t looked burnt. So, toss half-way through and don’t add the vinegar and cheese until the last five minutes.
Lesson Learned 4: Obviously this was not a recipe that turned out well the first time making it. I overcooked it and wound up with a gooey mess in my pan. That being said, it still had an interesting flavor, almost sweet. So I am definitely going to try this again as I think it has great potential.
I hope my lessons learned help you have more success the first time you try this recipe. I plan to continue to play with it until I get it right. When I do I will either update this blog or post a new one referencing this. I am a big fan of roasted vegetable but you have to get the cooking time and temperature just right, otherwise you have a limp burnt mess.