Roasted cauliflower with Buffalo hot sauce CHERYL WIXSON PHOTO

Spicing up cauliflower Buffalo-style



There are many legends in the foodie world, and one of them is Buffalo wings. Conceived in 1964, this popular bar food of chicken wings in a greasy, finger-staining, spicy sauce was the brainchild of Teressa Bellissimo of Buffalo, N.Y. The perfect accompaniment to the third glass of beer (particularly when watching the Sox or the Pats), these wings boast a bright orange coating prepared from butter, hot sauce and red pepper.

Certainly very tasty, but really not the type of food I enjoy cooking or eating every day.

A bright orange head of cauliflower and a recipe email tip from Vitamix inspired a click and online search: how to prepare roasted cauliflower vegetarian sliders with Buffalo hot sauce.

The freshly harvested cauliflower at the markets this time of year is sublime, and a vegetable treat not to be missed. This variety is aptly named “Cheddar” because it resembles Cheddar cheese. In removing the bright green leaves and breaking apart the flesh, the aroma was sweet and fresh; the flavor was mild, almost nutty. Cauliflower never tasted this good!

Roasting the florets perfectly only enhanced the flavors, and the bright orange color become more mellow and rosy-toned.

The Vitamix sauce recipe looked traditional, and delicious, but requires a Vitamix-type blender. Instead, I opted for the condiment-on-hand technique; combining spoonfuls of jars of stuff in my pantry to create certain flavor combinations. The recipe for this Buffalo Hot Sauce uses sriracha sauce, another food legend. A dipping sauce that originated in Thailand, it is a popular condiment sometimes called rooster sauce.

I never did make sliders with the roasted cauliflower. Instead, we enjoyed them with friends as a tasty hot appetizer, drinking a beer and bemoaning the Red Sox.

Roasted Cauliflower with Buffalo Hot Sauce

Makes 4 servings

 

½ head of freshly harvest cauliflower, about 1 lb. or 2 cups

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Sea salt and fresh pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Break the cauliflower apart into 1-inch florets. Oil a heavy roasting pan and coat the cauliflower pieces with olive oil. Roast in the hot oven, shaking the pan every few minutes, until golden brown and just fork tender. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper.

 

Buffalo Hot Sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise

4 tablespoons (more or less to taste) sriracha chili sauce

Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

 

To prepare the sauce, mix the mayonnaise with the sriracha chili sauce. Start with 1 tablespoon, mix, taste and continue to add until the sauce reaches desired heat.

Serve sauce in a bowl surrounded by roasted cauliflower. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

 

Nutritional analysis per ½ cup serving cauliflower: 41 calories, 1 gram protein, 2 grams carbohydrates, 3.5 grams fat, 45 mg. sodium, 2 grams fiber.

 

Nutritional analysis per tablespoon hot sauce: 67 calories, less than 1 gram protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, 7 grams fat, 55 mg. sodium, less than 1 gram.

Cheryl Wixson
"Maine Dish" columnist Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. Her passion for organic Maine products led to the creation of her business, Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected] or www.cherylwixsonskitchen.com.

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