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Ad Hoc's rice with roasted cauliflower

Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 10
Ad Hoc's rice with roasted cauliflower
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Dear SOS: I’m not a fan of cauliflower, but on a recent trip to Napa I dined at Ad Hoc and had the most amazing side dish of rice with roasted cauliflower. I would love the recipe.

Sainam Khan Culver City

Dear Sainam: This deceptively simple dish contains a wealth of layered flavors. Roasting the cauliflower concentrates the vegetable’s flavor while softening it to buttery tenderness, the rich caramelization complemented with a sprinkling of earthy curry powder. Tossed with rice spiced with a pinch of chili flakes, the dish is finished with bright crunch from fresh green onion. A perfect harmony in every mouthful.

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.