Gregory Gourdet’s Whole Roasted Jerk Cauliflower

published Jun 7, 2021
Eat More Plants
Whole Roasted Jerk Cauliflower

Cauliflower is given the royal treatment to take it from side dish to table centerpiece. It's long-cooked until fork tender and finished with a fiery jerk-inspired glaze.

Serves3 to 4

Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
jerk cauliflour on blue tablecloth
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Styling: Alex Brannian; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

This story is part of Eat More Plants, Kitchn’s June 2021 special issue devoted to putting the flavor and magic of plants at the heart of your plate. 

Here, I give cauliflower the royal treatment to take it from side dish to table centerpiece, long-cooking until it’s fork tender and finishing it with a fiery, blend-and-go glaze inspired by jerk. A specialty of Jamaica, jerk is a prime example of a delicious food with a brutal history — the preparation likely born from either Arawaks, who were enslaved by Spanish conquistadors, or Maroons, African slaves brought by the British who escaped into the Blue Mountains.

I tame its Scotch bonnet–fueled heat with a bit of coconut sugar, so the complexity of allspice, nutmeg, and ginger can shine through. The coconut aminos stand in for soy sauce, a common ingredient in jerk brought to Jamaica by Chinese immigrants.

Credit: Andrea D'Agosto

Gregory Gourdet’s Inclusive, Feel-Good Cooking Is Exactly What You Need Right Now
Read more about this recipe and Gregory Gourdet’s must-buy new book in our interview with the chef.

Whole Roasted Jerk Cauliflower

Cauliflower is given the royal treatment to take it from side dish to table centerpiece. It's long-cooked until fork tender and finished with a fiery jerk-inspired glaze.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Serves 3 to 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the cauliflower:

  • 1

    large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds), leaves removed

  • 3 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoons

    kosher salt

For the jerk glaze:

  • 1/4 cup

    chile oil, homemade or store-bought

  • 2 tablespoons

    coconut sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tablespoon dried

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    black peppercorns

  • 1/2 teaspon

    allspice berries

  • 2

    dried or fresh bay leaves

  • 1

    moderately spicy fresh red chile, like Fresno, stemmed

  • 1

    scallion, trimmed and roughly chopped

  • 1

    large garlic clove, peeled

  • 1

    small shallot, roughly chopped

  • 1/2

    Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed

  • 1-inch knob ginger, peeled and thinly sliced against the grain

  • 1/4

    freshly grated nutmeg, or 1/8 teaspoon ground

  • 1

    juicy lime

Instructions

Roast the cauliflower:

  1. Set an oven rack 10 inches or so from the broiler. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Trim the base of the cauliflower so it can sit flat. Flip the cauliflower base-side up and cut a deep “X” into the base, stopping when you reach the stems of the florets. This helps the core and base cook at the same rate as the rest of the head.

  3. Rub the cauliflower all over with the olive oil, then season the cauliflower all over with the salt. Sit the cauliflower in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet (11- to 13-inch works best) and roast to soften up the cauli- flower (it’ll go from white to cream in color), 30 to 35 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of water directly into the skillet and keep roasting until the water has evaporated and the cauliflower has patches of light golden brown and is just tender enough to easily be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 20 to 25 minutes more.

Make the jerk glaze:

  1. While the cauliflower is roasting, combine the glaze ingredients, including the finely grated zest and the juice of the lime, in the blender and blend on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute.

Make the dish:

  1. When the cauliflower is tender, remove it from the oven and preheat the broiler. Use a flexible spatula to rub the top and sides of the cauliflower (don’t neglect those lower sides!) with the blended mixture.

  2. Broil the cauliflower, basting it after 5 minutes with the juices that have accumulated in the skillet and trying your best to get that flavorful liquid in all of its nooks and crannies, until the top has spots of black char, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

Recipe Notes

From the book Everyone’s Table by Gregory Gourdet and JJ Goode. Copyright © 2021 by Gregory Gourdet and JJ Goode. Published by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.