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Caramelized Cauliflower with Honey and Smoked Paprika

Cooking the cauliflower in a smoking-hot pan until well browned elicits a natural sweetness. This dark, caramel-like flavor is enhanced by the honey-based glaze and punched up with smoky paprika, spicy chili flakes and tart fresh lemon juice.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large cauliflower, about 3 lb., cut into 1-inch florets
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil and melt the butter. Add the cauliflower florets, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and toss gently to coat the florets. Spread the florets into 1 layer and cook, without stirring, until the undersides are lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip each piece over and continue cooking, undisturbed, until evenly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat until all sides are evenly browned, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, the shallot, red pepper flakes and paprika to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the honey and water and sauté until the liquid reduces to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half over the cauliflower, stir to combine and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and black pepper.

Transfer the cauliflower to a warmed bowl and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).