Easy way to roast cauliflower with pumpkin seeds, brown butter and lime

Easy way to roast cauliflower with pumpkin seeds, brown butter and lime

How do you usually deal with a head of cauliflower? Steam it? Grind it into rice? Puree it into a heap of hope that nobody will notice it’s not mashed potatoes? Roast it to a crisp, brown oblivion with olive oil and salt and eat it straight of the baking sheet? You sound sane.

1/2-inch slices

I do not. The last time I bought cauliflower was two weeks ago when I fell for four adorable grapefruit-sized heads I had to take home with me. Then I had a whole-day project and didn’t cook them. Then I worked on a speech and ate leftovers for two days and didn’t cook them. Then I went away for three days and didn’t cook them. Then I had leftovers from grandma (thanks grandma) and didn’t cook them. Then I forgot to cook them. Then I wasted another day, indecisive.

ready to roast
what you'll need

I was dreaming, as one does (just kidding, nobody does except for Julia Child in 1948, right?) about sole meunière. The thin filets, the brown butter sauce cut with lemon, parsley and capers. But I was also thinking about lime juice and sumac and pepper flakes and then I spied this glorious amalgamation of all my cravings on Bon Appetit and ran into the kitchen to make them and you know what I found, right? The cauliflower had not made it. It deserved better in this life than to have its fate tethered to the likes of me.

brown butter with pumpkin seeds
brown butter lime sauce

And so I bought another head and with a few tweaks to cooking times and technique, sizzled some pumpkin seeds in a skillet of brown butter, salt and pepper flakes and squeezed in some lime juice and poured it over these deeply roasted cauliflower slices and ate the whole heavenly pan. Like, my family will not know until they see this post that it existed because it was so good, such a glorious reminder of how much flavor we can crank out of four ingredients we hadn’t combined in exactly this way before that immediately becomes unforgettable. After a 4+ hour candy grab last night, this is exactly what we want right now.

roasted cauliflower with pumpkin seeds, brown butter and lime

Roasted Cauliflower with Pumpkin Seeds, Brown Butter and Lime

  • Servings: 1 to 2 hearty, 3 to 4 as a side
  • Time: 45 minutes
This recipe was almost perfect from Bon Appetit, but I found each step needed less cooking time and included my own roasting tweaks; I added weights. The original calls for 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes, that’s a good punch if you like heat, otherwise, adjust to your taste. The original recipe specifies raw unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas, or pumpkin seeds with the outer hull removed) but I had no problems with my already toasted, salted pumpkin seeds burning and still needed to add a little salt to get the seasoning level right.
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small heads of cauliflower (about 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) hulled pumpkin seeds (sold as pepitas) (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or less to taste
  • Juice of half a lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Handful chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or chives
Heat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with just over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle the sheet with salt and pepper. Trim cauliflower and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet, then drizzle with remaining scant 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until underside is deeply browned. Carefully flip pieces and roast until dark brown and crisp on second side, about 15 to 20 minutes longer.While cauliflower roasts, in a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter, then reduce heat to medium-low and add pumpkin seeds. Stirring the whole time, cook until butter becomes light brown and smells toasty, about 4 to 6 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then add lime juice and season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Arrange cauliflower on a serving platter and drizzle with dressing. Serve topped with herbs.