Friday, March 14, 2008

More roasted cauliflower with parmesan chicken paillards...

You've heard us sing the praises of roasted cauliflower a few times now... so I'm sure you won't be surprised with how much we enjoyed tonight's side dish of Sesame Roasted Cauliflower.

We've been using a few of the tips we have learned along the way to make this basic roasted vegetable just a bit better. When you slice up the large head of cauliflower, rather than trying to keep the florets intact, slice them so they have a larger flat surface area. This allows the florets to have better contact with the pan, allowing it to caramelize and deepen its flavor. We've also quite taken to preheating the baking pan first - I wouldn't say this is absolutely required, but there is some audible gratification when you hear the sizzle as the snow-white veggie slides onto the hot surface. I'm content with dressing the pieces with oil and a shower of salt and fresh ground black pepper - however, this time they are gussied up with piquant toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds for a richer flavor. Golden, tender, yet crisp, this versatile roasted veggie is welcome on our plates anytime!

Dinner tonight, Parmesan Chicken Paillards with Cherry Tomato Sauce, took a bit of time to complete, but the effort was rewarded. Chicken breasts (ours were about 6 ounces each) are first pounded flat to help them cook a little more evenly. This can get kind of messy, so to ease clean up, slide the breasts between a couple sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. I've used both with good results. Once the chicken has been seasoned, only one side is dredged in a mixture of flour and fresh grated Parmesan cheese to keep this dish on the lighter side. Having only one side crusted might sound a little skimpy, but the strong, sharp nature of the Parmesan allows this to work well.

Place the breasts cheese side down when you add them to the skillet - since there isn't a ton of oil used, this gives the crust a chance to mingle with enough hot oil to get golden and crisp. Rather than dirtying another pan, the chunky sauce is prepared in the same skillet after the chicken has cooked. As soon as chopped onions soften for the sauce, they are hit with chicken broth and a shot of syrupy balsamic vinegar. When most of the liquid had concentrated down, quartered juicy cherry tomatoes are tossed in with a pinch of dried oregano. The sauce is finished when the tomatoes start to break down, yet still have some texture to them. I love the combination of tangy balsamic vinegar and tomatoes - however, if for some reason you don't groove on balsamic, sherry vinegar would also work well here.


  1. I have been making roasted cauliflower over the last coupleof months and it is a great alternative to potatoes or fries which are verboten on my diet. I like the idea of the sesame flavored verion.

  2. I love cauliflower, and roasting it is one of my favorite ways to eat it! It is just so good...yours looks fabulous--just the perfect amount of browning and roastyness (if that is even a word)!


  3. Deborah - Yes, the sesame was a nice change of pace!

    Courtney - Thank you!

  4. Sesame and cauliflower is a great idea for a combination - I can imagine that they'd go really well together!

    I like roasting/frying cauliflower too - it makes a nice lunch with chickpeas (garbanzo) and spices

  5. my mouth is watering..... and it is 11:28 p.m...... great.

    chicken for supper tomorrow! and I know there is half a cauli in the frig.... wheeeee !

  6. Sophie - It was a very pleasing combination!

    Bumblevee - Woo!