Much like Brussels sprouts a few years ago, cauliflower is having its heyday, says chef de cuisine Alex Pasco of Enchantment Resort in Sedona. “For me, it’s about texture and versatility. It’s a really nice way to bring creaminess to vegan dishes and it takes well to seasonings, sauces and spices.”
At Enchantment’s signature restaurant, Che Ah Chi, Pasco serves a dynamite roasted cauliflower dish that’s a customer favorite. He recently shared the coveted recipe with PHOENIX magazine.
Pasco has a couple of tips to offer when preparing the dish: Make sure you get the cauliflower tender while poaching, but don’t cook too long or it will get soft and fall apart; and when making the pesto, use ice water to drop the temperature of the blades. If the blades get too hot, the herbs will oxidize and the green mixture will turn gray.
This dish has a lot of moving parts, but none are overly difficult. If you’d rather try the roasted cauliflower before preparing it yourself, check out Che Ah Chi next time you’re in Sedona. “I don’t think it will ever go off the menu,” Pasco says. “People love it.”
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
1-2 heads cauliflower
30 oz. white wine
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup salt
½ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. crushed pepper flakes
2 tbsp sugar
2 bay leaves
1 gallon water
1. Bring all ingredients except the cauliflower to a boil in a large pot.
2. Blanch whole cauliflower heads with the leaves and excess stem removed.
3. Cauliflower should be cooked until just tender or about 10 minutes.
4. The liquid can be saved and reused.
1 lb. baby kale
1 ½ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and salted
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
½ cup Grana Padano (or Parmesan)
1 cup ice water
Salt to taste
1. Place the extra virgin olive oil, kale, pumpkin seeds, garlic and cheese in a blender and puree adding ice water as needed.
2. Once smooth and spreadable (not too thick), season to taste with salt.
Aji Amarillo Vin
2 lemons rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 oz. aji Amarillo
2 heaping tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 ½ cup canola oil
Salt to taste
1. Puree all ingredients except the oil in a blender until smooth.
2. While still pureeing, slowly add the oil until fully emulsified, adding water if necessary
3. Season to taste with salt.
1. Rub a head of cauliflower with oil, season with salt and cut two cross marks about halfway to the core of the cauliflower.
2. Bake at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes.
3. Using a spoon, spread 3 oz. of kale pesto across the bottom of the plate in a circle.
4. Place the cauliflower on top of the pesto.
5. Drizzle 2 oz. of vinaigrette over the top of the cauliflower.
6. Grate 1 oz. of Grana Padano over the top of the cauliflower.