This recipe isn't really French, but it nods to the flavors of France with a hearty dose of Dijon mustard, white wine tarragon (or herbes de Provence) and, OK, mayonnaise.
Faced with two crisp, colorful heads of cauliflower from Starksboro's Footprint Farm
and Ferrisburgh's Lalumiere Farm
— gleaned from the Hinesburg Farmers Market
last Thursday — I wanted to do something that would enhance but not overpower the vegetables' sweet, nutty flavor.
I'm still very much on my grilling kick, but marinading was out of the question (our guests were already on their way, and cauliflower is not exactly absorbent), so I called on a slick, sure-fire trick: Slather the vegetable in a delicately flavored but fatty mixture and roast it for 40 minutes.
So roasted, the dressing fades into the background but the fat helps the cauliflower brown and the salt helps coax the moisture from the vegetable. The tangy Dijon and cheese add just a hint of flavor to the smoke from the grill.
Et voilà! The resulting dish hits the Farmers Market Kitchen trifecta: easy, tasty, pretty.
Fire-Roasted Cauliflower en Dijon
2-3 heads fresh cauliflower, sliced into 3/4-inch thick "steaks"
For the slather:
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and extra for the pan
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon honey
2/3 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, finely shredded
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon tarragon, marjoram or herbs de Provence, minced
Drizzle a cookie sheet with extra-virgin olive oil and light the grill (or preheat oven to 400 degrees).
Cut the cauliflower to size and place side-by-side on the cookie sheet (each head should yield 2-3 decent cuts; the rest will fall away in smaller florets).
Mix the ingredients for the slather until thoroughly combined.
With a cooking brush, generously paint the slather onto the sliced cauliflower. Flip and repeat until both sides, and the tops, are thoroughly coated. Toss the florets in the remaining dressing.
When the grill reaches 400 degrees, place the cauliflower cuts and florets on the grill and cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes. Turn the cauliflower, cover and cook for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until they're tender enough to cut with a fork, but are still chewy.