Cauliflower with Garlic Infused Baguette Croutons

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Ingredients:

3 cups baguette, torn into chunks
4 T olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, sliced in half
1 large head cauliflower, rinsed, dried, and cut into bite sized florets
2 T olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions:

In a large skillet set over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic slices. Stir the garlic around for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let sit to cool naturally for 20 minutes. Remove the garlic slices and discard, they were only there to infuse the olive oil.

Meanwhile boil, steam or microwave the cauliflower until they are just fork tender. Depending upon how you cook them, this should take about 5-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Set the skillet over medium high heat and when the oil shimmers, add the chunks of baguettes. Stir quickly so that each piece of bread is coated with olive oil. Sauté the bread, stirring every now and then, until the pieces are beautifully browned and crispy. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan that just browned the bread. Increase the heat to medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the prepared cauliflower and toss to coat. Sprinkle with black pepper and salt to taste. Continue to stir every 30 seconds. This will allow the cauliflower to become hot and brown slightly. Do not answer the phone or you will burn the cauliflower.

Once the cauliflower is covered with a pretty brown – it’s done. Remember, you did pre-steam it so this will not take long, just a few minutes.

Sprinkle with cayenne, add the crispy bread chunks, and toss. Serve immediately and enjoy the contrasting textures and flavors.

This recipe was inspired by one of the wonderful recipes in the Williams and Sonoma cookery book Vegetables.

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