The lesser-practised technique of roasting cauliflower whole brings out a distinctly different flavour, one that is nutty and more caramel-like. It is enhanced in this recipe by brown butter and fragrant juniper. Adding the cream is optional. Enjoy with some rye bread or buttered crispbread on a cold day.
4 dried juniper berries
1 tablespoon flaked salt
600 grams (1 Lb 5 Oz) whole cauliflower
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
around 600 Ml (20½ Fl Oz) chicken stock
50 grams (1¾ Oz) brown butter
100 grams (3½ Oz) crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)
Pinch of white pepper
Rye bread or seedy crispbreads, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Using a mortar and pestle, grind the juniper berries with the salt.
Remove most of the leaves from the cauliflower, keeping a few around the base. Rub the juniper berry mixture and the oil over the cauliflower. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Check that it’s cooked through by piercing the thicker stems with a sharp knife; they should be tender. If it’s not quite ready, reduce the temperature to 170°C (340°F) and cook for a little longer.
Remove from the oven and break apart the florets, reserving the thinner leaves for a garnish.
Blend the cauliflower, adding the stock gradually. It should have a fairly thick consistency, so you may not need all the stock.
Add the brown butter, crème fraîche or sour cream (if using) and a pinch of white pepper, and blend again. Check the seasoning before serving with bread and garnished with the reserved leaves.