That One Recipe That Will Make You Love Cauliflower

by Jill Bernardini
Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016

Roasting cauliflower with bacon fat brings out its smoky sweetness

My relationship with cauliflower has always been a little lukewarm. Indifferent. I'm always noticing that it's the last picked vegetable on the crudité platter and it's often an under-seasoned afterthought. But roasting cauliflower florets with bacon fat gives the vegetable a new texture and flavor: smoky, savory and incredibly addictive. I think this recipe makes just enough of the vinaigrette to bring out those bacon qualities, while keeping its crisped edges intact. Serve this hot out of the oven and make anyone a cauliflower convert!


  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon (cut into 1/2 inch strips (lardons))
  • 2 heads cauliflower (cored and cut into florets)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (plus more for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper (to taste)



1. Set the oven at 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cauliflower florets in one even layer on the sheet and set aside.

2. Sauté the bacon in a small pan over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove the pan from the heat, using a slotted spoon, transfer the lardons to a paper towel-lined dish. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat for the cauliflower and place the other 2 tablespoons in a small bowl for the vinaigrette.

3. Drizzle the cauliflower florets with the bacon fat, season with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 25-35 minutes. Stir the cauliflower florets halfway through roasting for even browning.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. In the small bowl with the reserved bacon fat, combine the shallot, garlic, both vinegars, mustard and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette emulsifies.

6. Once the cauliflower is tender and golden-brown, remove from the oven. Place in a large bowl, pour the vinaigrette over the cauliflower, and toss until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with the crispy bacon lardons and additional parsley leaves. Season with additional salt and pepper, and serve.

About the Author

Originally from the rural region of southern New Jersey, Craving Boston's Jill has been working, learning, and eating her way through Boston for the past five years. She holds her M.A. in gastronomy from Boston University, works at the award-winning Island Creek Oyster Bar, and writes on her personal blog, Jill Eats. Jill is constantly dreaming up recipes, reading Food52, and roaming around the city’s farmers’ markets. Ice cream is her weakness.


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