This Might Be The Most Delicious Way To Eat Your Vegetables

Photo: Courtesy of Joy the Baker.
My mom had a few things she’d repeat to my sister and me at our family dinner table night after night.
My favorite/least favorite was, "Eat your vegetables, they’ll make you beautiful." The vegetables she was referring to were usually barely steamed broccoli or cauliflower. If the (basically raw) vegetables weren’t eaten within three minutes of leaving the steamer, they devolved into something entirely inedible to a child who wanted nothing more than a Happy Meal for dinner.
Now that I'm grown up, I prepare my vegetables a little differently than my mom did, and the recipe below is a great example of the new way I'm eating — and thoroughly enjoying — my vegetables.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Cheddar-Beer Sauce
For the cauliflower
10 cups water
3 tbsp kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed
1 tsp smoked paprika
For the sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup beer (pilsner or amber)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Photo: Courtesy of Joy the Baker.
1. To make the cauliflower, pour water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the salt, olive oil, lemon juice, butter, sugar, red-pepper flakes, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Stir until butter has melted.
2. Gently lower the cauliflower into the simmering water. The cauliflower should simmer top down in the liquid, and you don't need to stir it much. Just let it simmer away for 15 minutes, or until it's very soft. To test the softness, insert a thin knife into the cauliflower. The knife should meet no resistance.
3. While the cauliflower simmers, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
4. Carefully lift the cauliflower from the water and place it in a colander to drain.
5. Next, place warm cauliflower in a pie plate. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
6. Roast for 30 minutes, rotating the pan two or three times so that it roasts evenly.
7. To get the cauliflower extra toasty and brown, turn the oven to broil and roast for three to five more minutes. Keep an eye on it, though, to ensure it doesn't burn too much.
8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you make the cheese sauce. The cauliflower will be piping hot.
9. To make the cheddar-beer sauce, heat butter in a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk together to form a paste and cook for a few seconds to develop a nutty aroma.
10. Slowly stream in the milk and whisk until thickened, about two minutes. Add the beer and Worcestershire sauce and whisk until smooth, well incorporated, and thickened, about 5 minutes.
11. Add the mustard, and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir with a wooden spoon until melted and smooth.
12. To serve, place warm cauliflower in a serving dish. Pour the warm cheddar-beer sauce around the cauliflower and serve. Enjoy!

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