My mom had a few predictable and necessary things she’d have to repeat ad-nauseam to my sister and me at our family dinner table night after night. There was the inevitable ‘sit still and someone please say grace’ followed by something like ‘do NOT kick your sister under the table’ or ‘stop staring at your sister when you know it bothers her and eat your fish sticks, thank you’.
My favorite/least favorite was ‘eat your vegetables, they’ll make you beautiful’. The vegetables she was referring to were usually barely steamed broccoli or cauliflower served nearly raw (and yes, full of nutrients… which is entirely unimpressive to an eight year old). If the (basically raw) vegetables weren’t eaten within three minutes of leaving the steamer they devolved into sometime entirely inedible to a child that wanted nothing more than a Happy Meal for dinner. Eat your vegetables. They’ll make you beautiful. Eat them. Eat them. No seriously. Eat them.
We ate them.
What my mom didn’t have in mind is that I’d grow up to simmer my dinner vegetables in butter and olive oil and serve them in a homemade Cheddar Beer Sauce. I mean… Eat your vegetables! (roasted and toasted and awesome!) They’ll make you beautiful. (and so will the cheese sauce?) Oh man. Thanks mom / Sorry mom.
Here’s how this happens. Here’s what you’ll need: a big head of cauliflower, a big pot to boil it in, butter, olive oil, lemon, and spice.
For the cheese sauce, all good things which include: milk, butter, beer, mustard, and Worcestershire.
First cauliflower takes a bath. A most delicious bath with simmering water, olive oil, melted butter, spice, bay leaf, and a good dose of salt.
The whole cauliflower will simmer away for about 15 minutes, softening from the outside to the core, absorbing the flavor and seasoning, and becoming coated in a light butter and olive oil wash. It’s all a very good way to start.
Once simmered and softened, the cauliflower is removed from the boil and drained well.
Into a baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled generously with smoky paprika.
Definitely smoky paprika. The flavor is much richer and has much more character than regular paprika. Buy it in bulk… it’s a great secret weapon in the kitchen.
Into the oven to crisp and brown.
While the cauliflower bakes and browns, we make a creamy cheddar beer sauce. Obnoxious, really.
Milk and butter, a bit of flour for thickening, a pale beer, and a whole lotta cheddar cheese.
Think of this as roasted broccoli with melted cheddar except we’re working with super soft roasted cauliflower, and a creamy smooth cheddar sauce.
If cauliflower could become butter… I mean, this is what it would look like.
Roasted. Toasted. Browned and otherwise perfect.
I poured the warm cheddar beer sauce around the warm whole cauliflower and… game over.
Savory. Rich. The cauliflower becomes almost as soft and creamy as the cheese sauce. Oh wait… did I mention this we’re serving cheese sauce with our vegetables? Yea. It’s good to be grown.
This recipe is inspired by the mega delicious Roasted Cauliflower from Domenica Restaurant here in New Orleans.