Whole roasted cauliflower with cheddar and spring onion sauce
- December 2013
- Serves 4-6
- Takes 20 minutes to make, 40 minutes to cook, plus drying
This whole roasted cauliflower recipe is a truly showstopping vegetarian main course, for Christmas or for a special dinner.
- Vegetarian recipes
- 32.3g (18.5g saturated)
- 22.1g protein
- 5.9g (4g sugars)
- 3g fibre
- 1.2g salt
For 6 servings
- 1 large cauliflower head, trimmed
- 300ml dry white wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- Garlic bulb, halved horizontally
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten and seasoned well
- Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), for grating
For the sauce
- Olive oil for frying
- 1 banana shallot, very finely chopped
- 50ml dry white wine
- 300g vintage or extra-mature cheddar, grated
- 125ml whipping cream
- 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Put the cauliflower in a large pan with the 300ml wine, bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic halves. Pour over boiling water from the kettle to just cover the cauliflower – don’t worry if it floats – and simmer on the hob for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Carefully lift the cauliflower out of the poaching liquid into a colander and leave for 10 minutes to steam dry (see tip).
- Put the cauliflower in a roasting tin, brush all over with the egg, then grate over a generous amount of parmesan so it covers the top and sides. Roast in the top third of the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add the shallot and cook for 5-6 minutes until translucent and soft. Add the 50ml wine and bubble until evaporated by two thirds. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting, then add the cheese and cream. Stir constantly until the cheese melts to a smooth sauce. Stir through the chilli and spring onions, season, then pour into a warmed jug. Put a piece of cling film directly onto the surface of the sauce and keep somewhere warm.
- When the cauliflower is roasted, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Take it to the table, then pour over two thirds of the sauce before carving. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.
Don’t discard the cauliflower poaching liquid – strain and store in the fridge or freezer to use as a base for soup or stock.
Poach the cauliflower the day before, then drain and chill, covered in cling film, until ready to roast. Make the cheese sauce the day before, then reheat very gently to avoid splitting.
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