Every once in a while you learn a new kitchen trick. Maybe it's how to peel ginger using a spoon, or flouring pans with cocoa powder when baking a chocolate cake. With this recipe for rice with roasted cauliflower, the magic is in how you cook the rice.
Basically, you boil the rice just like you would pasta, using a large pot of water. The results? Well, boiling the rice in extra water helps to remove the starch, which washes away when the water is drained. It's a simple trick, but try it once and you might never cook rice any other way again.
This recipe, from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc restaurant in Yountville, Calif., also calls for drying the rice for just a few minutes in a hot oven to fully separate the grains. When the rice is finished, it's tossed with roasted cauliflower that has been flavored with a little curry powder. Add a little chili flakes and chopped green onion for a touch of heat and to brighten the flavors, along with a drizzle of melted butter for added richness.
AD HOC'S RICE WITH ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
Total time: 45 minutes | Serves 8 to 10
1/2 head white cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
Pinch of curry powder
6 cups water
1 cup Carolina, or long grain, rice
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the canola oil and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste.
3. Place the cauliflower in a roasting pan (reserve the bowl) and roast until the cauliflower is a deep brown and tender throughout when pierced with a knife, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing every few minutes for even coloring and cooking. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees.
4. While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the rice: In a large saucepan, add the water and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and chili flakes and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the rice just until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice well, then spread the rice in a thin shallow layer in a large baking dish.
5. Place the rice in the oven to dry out for 5 minutes. Remove, then stir in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with salt and pepper.
6. Place the cauliflower back in the bowl and toss with the curry powder. Taste and season, if desired, with additional salt and pepper.
7. Gently stir in the warmed rice and butter, tossing until the butter is melted and evenly coats the rice and cauliflower. Stir in the green onions and serve immediately.
Each of 10 servings: 136 calories; 2 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 6 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 68 mg. sodium.
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