Roasted Cauliflower Wedge with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Walnuts Recipe

Roasted Cauliflower with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Walnuts

I want to preface this roasted cauliflower wedge recipe with one of the biggest lessons that having children has taught me, and it is: appreciation.

Appreciation for them as budding humans and appreciation for their amazing father? Absolutely. Appreciation for my parents’ decades of parenting and for my dear friends’ support? Certainly.

But, more selfishly, they have taught me to appreciate many things I used to take for granted pre-kids. Things that feed me, light me up, and make me me, but have been crowded out by other things that feed me in other ways, light me up in other ways, and define another side of me.

It’s all good: chapter of our lives, grow up so fast, next thing you know, moving out of the house, etc.

And the way I see it, I have been gifted with a priceless new perspective that allows me to experience all flavors of bliss when I read three pages of my book at the playground on a Sunday morning (in half-paragraph bursts); when I go over my fantastic flourishes worksheets while they’re coloring next to me (they’re helping me with this Paris coloring book); when everyone is fiiiiiiinally asleep and I tuck my own self into bed with a fresh episode of riveting fiction.

Roasted Cauliflower with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Walnuts

And date nights? Oh, date nights! The anticipation, the thrill, the magic of tiptoeing down our staircase and stepping out into absolute freedom, just the two of us, the city our oyster!

Sometimes we delight in having a simple meal at a neighborhood favorite; other times we plan an evening somewhere new and exciting.

A few months ago we went to Gravity Bar, a hip spot near the Canal Saint-Martin serving excellent cocktails and small plates. We sat at the counter looking into the kitchen, and watched the chef assemble the kind of fresh and vibrant compositions that illustrate what’s exciting about Parisian cuisine right now.

Obviously, I had to order the roasted romanesco, which came as a whole roasted wedge, topped with crumbled blue cheese (bleu d’Auvergne), a honey garlic vinaigrette and caramelized pecans. I knew I would love it. And I did.

The recipe I share with you today is my recreation of the dish, using regular cauliflower (more widely available, but use romanesco if you have it) and walnuts in place of pecans (stick to the original if you have easier access to pecans than I do).

Roasted Cauliflower with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Walnuts

The richness of flavors is remarkable. Can you picture them all in your mind? The palate remains engaged through every bite, processing the nutty, the sweet, the pungent, the bitter, and the roasted.

It is a company-worthy dish that you can serve as an appetizer, the four wedges arranged on a platter that you’ll carve into pieces for your guests, or as a vegetarian main dish, as we have been enjoying it at home. Very satisfying, and if you get non-dairy blue “cheese” (I tried one from Dada that was pretty good) and use rice syrup in the dressing, it’s an easy way to make your vegan friends very happy.

PS: If you’re a fan of roasted cabbage-y things, I’ve got you covered:

PPS: On the subject of exciting things happening in Paris, get yourself a copy of my friend Lindsey’s book The New Paris! And check out her same-name podcast, The New Paris Podcast, on which I was a guest for episode 2!

PPPS: Did I mention I have a podcast myself? (Caveat: it’s in French.)

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Roasted Cauliflower Wedge with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Walnuts Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serves 4 to 6.

Roasted Cauliflower Wedge with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Walnuts Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 whole head cauliflower, about 1 kilogram (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) blue cheese (in France, go for Bleu d'Auvergne, Fourme d'Ambert, Roquefort…), crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • For the caramelized walnuts:
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • For the garlic and honey dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons strong mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
  2. Remove the outer leaves and ribs from the cauliflower, cut a slice off the base to have a fresh cut, and cut the cauliflower in 4 large wedges (6 if serving 6).
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt, and flip a couple of times to coat.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, until cooked through and nicely browned.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the caramelized walnuts. Have ready a small tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone cooking mat.
  6. In a small saucepan with a thick bottom, melt the sugar over medium heat without stirring. When the sugar is just beginning to caramelize, add the walnuts and stir constantly to coat as you allow the caramel to darken a little more. Pour on the tray, separate the walnuts with the spatula (careful, they will be very hot!), and let cool completely.
  7. Prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, stir together the honey, mustard, and vinegar. Add the salt and garlic, then stir in the oil to form an emulsion. The dressing can be prepared the day before, and you can scale it up if you’d like, to keep on hand for salads that week.
  8. To serve, place a cauliflower wedge on each plate. Top with nuts and cheese over, and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature.
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/vegetables-grains/roasted-cauliflower-blue-cheese-caramelized-walnuts-recipe/

Roasted Cauliflower

  • This recipe sounds wonderful, I will put it on my list for next week. And your opening preamble about appreciation, how it made me laugh!! I know exactly what you mean: the unparalleled bliss of managing to grab half an hour with a cup of tea and my blog, or getting into bed with a book at the end of the day without disturbance… and my husband and I recently went out for dinner together in the first time in I don’t know how long and it totally blew my mind. Hurrah to the little ones for teaching me to appreciate every second I have to myself. I just can’t wait for those seconds to come a little more frequently!!

    • Yes! It sounds backwards, but it is very true that it has heightened my appreciation. I just hope I can remember the feeling and prolong it when they’re older and more independent!

  • i love plain roasted cauliflower already, so adding creamy blue cheese, crunchy caramelized walnuts and garlicky dressing is just icing on the cake (;

  • Andreas

    This sounds delicious – i wish I had known about this when my potager was providing a glut of cauliflowers earlier in the year!! But I’ll save it and use it with the next cauliflower glut!! :)

  • Abcya

    i dont think that i can make it like this anyway in my lifetime :( it is saddening but i will do try all my best. thank you for teaching.
    abcya

  • Andreea

    first – this looks and sounds delicious. second – I have just finished said series of riveting fiction myself ;)

  • clichtman

    I will definitely try this.

  • mehdi aghdaee

    Question: If you had access to both walnuts and pecans (as those of us living in US), which one would you go for in this dish?

    • Both are delicious! The original version had pecans, which are sweeter. If you use walnuts, you’ll add a slight hint of bitterness that brings complexity. Up to you! Maybe try both! :)

  • I think vinegarettes have a hard time with cooked items. T might just use some melted butter and a seasoning like a steak seasoning or a BBQ rub like Burnt Sacrifice Kansas City to perk up the flavor while its cooking (http://burntsacrifice.com/Kansas-City-BBQ-Rub-Dry-Rub)

  • Zoë

    I made this dish last night – and it was incredible. I tried to follow the recipe pretty closely but I made some changes: ancienne grainy mustard instead of dijon and smaller chunks of cauli (because I was hungry and wanted it to cook fast!). Anyway it was definitely one of the best things I’ve made recently – so simple, but the flavours work so well. Thankyou Clotilde for bringing a taste of Paris to my kitchen!

  • Tatiana

    Just made this for dinner tonight and the Dear Husband loved it. So did I. Definitely will be making it again and again and again. I’ll probably get lazy and not bother to caramelize the nuts next time, especially if I end up using pecans. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Funny that you post this! My Hero Husband is a great lover of cauliflowers and I actually did something similar many times. We both love our veggies pan-grilled to get a certain ‘umpf’ out of otherwise rather boring (bland) vegs such as courgettes. Yesterday I had a total of over 20 ppl in our house from 10am-4pm, in 3 groups, with 4 ppl to eat with us. I had exactly 1h30 to cook and I grilled large thinnish slices of gourgettes in organic olive oil, with garlic and onion rings, spiced them with herbs and very little sea salt & rosmarin from the garden. At the end of this, I put it all in a deep gratin form, and sprinkled broken walnuts & Bleue d’Auvergne over it, grilled it a short moment and it was served with small spuds in their skin, a dip with fromage blanc & fresh spring onions, rocket leaves (arugula), garlic, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, sun dried tomatoes, some ham & soft cheese, mini-toms & feta cubes…. It was a feast and went down a storm. So, cauliflower with much of the same will surely follow.
    I don’t know how you do it all; I have such talented, spontaneous, glorious friends who are super-talents. I can’t see how you can have a family, kids, a blog, giving tours & do all that cooking – I shall however shortly drink to your health and well-being! THAT MUCH I CAN DO! :)

    • Ha ha funny you should say this, reading your comment I was thinking OMG how did she handle all those people in her house and still cook something elaborate? Frazzled just reading about it. But then I assume said home isn’t a one-bedroom apartment. (Or is it?)

      • Is that what you have? :)
        No, we have a house and a huge garden – it’s quite the paradise. But I DO apologize; I must have given you the wrong impression. I only FED the 4 ppl at lunch, we had the different voices of our choral ensemble coming to our place because we have a nice piano & enough space in our living/dining room to gather up to 10 persons – so it was our lovely lady-conductor and the ‘part-time’ pianist and Hero Husband for lunch only…… All the others came for 1 1/2h of tutoring and a drink with a little something and left again. So, really, no big deal…..
        Today, it’s going to be the leftover patatos, again in form of a gratin, together with the rest of my gourgettes & a layer of herbs, gloriously (and copiously calory wise!!) covered by some defrosted slices of raclette cheese – since it’s very cold with the strong strong winds but also cosy in our glass-winter garden, it will be a top notch 2 ppl lunch for ‘next to nothing’ and leaves my fridge free for new stuff!

        • Wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Kiki, it’s always a pleasure to read you.

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