Buffalo Cauliflower & Wedge Salad

IMG_6168I’m no good at taking good food pictures. I can take a decent landscape in a pinch, then again, who can’t?

But my food photos are always too dark, overexposed, or just plain bad. I held off starting this blog for months (actually years), because I was afraid I didn’t have the photos to back it up.

But then I decided to stop taking myself so seriously, embrace the fact that this blog is all about imperfection, and just get started. The learning will happen along the way. For now, I am shamelessly using photos that have already been filtered on good old Instagram because they look better than the originals.

Fortunately, some people (like my sister) are just here for the recipe and not much else, which you can get to by clicking here.

I just happened to be making buffalo cauliflower the other night when I remembered that I should probably blog about it. The pictures I got are “meh” but the dish itself was top notch. It’s a household favourite, a balance of trashy and healthy. It would be selfish not to blog about it, right?

The recipe is another shameless riff on a big-name chef’s concepts. I’d seen buffalo cauliflower around the internets for years, but it was Dale Talde’s version that won me over. He roasts a whole head of cauliflower, breaks it down, and tosses it with buffalo sauce. His hot sauce blend also happens to be what we’ve adopted for use at home – 50/50 Franks/Sriracha. Although, I tend to go for 70/30 Franks/Sriracha, and we’ve taken to calling it Francesca.

Being barbeque fiends, we adapted the recipe for the grill. It’s a forgiving recipe, as long as the cauliflower isn’t completely raw or burnt, it’s going to be pretty good. We introduce the sauce earlier than Talde recommends, so it gets cooked on, then added right before serving too. I like the extra adhesion this provides, and the extra layer of flavour.

The first time we had it, I served it accompanied by wedge salad with an improvised blue cheese meets ranch dressing. If you don’t like blue cheese, just leave it out. I like using a little hit of Worcestershire to balance out the herbs, and garlic powder gives it an almost processed addictiveness I really dig.

The creamy dressing winds up mingling with the hot sauce into one perfectly spicy, creamy, tangy sauce. I don’t know if I can serve one without the other now.

For people who think iceberg lettuce is boring or lament it’s lack of nutrients, stop fussing and just try it. Sometimes you need a simple, crunchy palette on which to paint your sauces, this is it.

A note about my recipes in general, I’ve started weighing and marking down my measurements for the purpose of blogging, but this does not reflect how I typically cook. I usually just throw in a bit of this or that, tasting it now and again. The two pieces of advice I’d give anyone about cooking are to taste what you’re making often, and do what tastes good to you.

Now here are the goods.

Buffalo Cauliflower

Makes 1 head of cauliflower, enough for 2 to 3 people, realistically. Based on Dale Talde’s recipe.

1 head cauliflower
1/2 cup Frank’s
1/2 cup Sriracha
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Crank your barbeque to a medium-high flame – or your oven up to 400. Cut the base off the cauliflower so it sits flat, and brush it thoroughly with oil.

Roast or grill the cauliflower for 20 minutes on one side, then flip and roast on the other side. While it cooks, melt the butter and hot sauces together on the stove, and divide it into two portions.

Take the cauliflower off the grill and using a knife and tongs so you don’t burn your hands, break it down into wing-sized chunks. Toss it with half of the sauce until it’s coated. Throw it back on the grill and cook another 10 to 20 minutes depending on how soft and dark you want it. I turned my heat up a bit higher and did 10 minutes, so the pieces blackened but stayed tender-crisp in the middle.

Put the pieces directly in the other half of the sauce and toss to coat before serving.

Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch

Makes enough for 1 head of iceberg lettuce.

1 head of iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small shallot, finely minced
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all of the ingredients together with a fork until thoroughly blended. Taste it, if you don’t like it, add more of the other ingredients to balance it out until you do. Ideally let the dressing sit in the fridge for a couple hours, or overnight for the flavours to get acquainted.

Cut the iceberg lettuce into four wedges, or however many you want, and drown each wedge in the dressing.


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