Roasted Cauliflower with Annatto Seed oil is every bit as delicious as it is pretty. All of the natural sugars in the vegetable come out as it slowly roasts, caramelizing it to perfection. The color of annatto recipes is always beautiful, making this even more pleasing to the eye. I love meals with “small plates.” And this recipe with annatto seed oil and clauliflower is a favorite.
In the food and restaurant world, small plates are essentially food on small plates. Literally. The idea is that a group of people can share several appetizers — or, small plates — and that together become the main course. I love this way of eating. It’s fun and you get to try so many things!
– annatto seeds
What is Annatto Seed Oil?
- Annato seed oil is made — quite easily — from annatto seeds. (See instructions below.)
- Annatto seeds are derived from the fruit of the Achiote tree.
- The seeds have a very mild, sweet and peppery flavor, though they’re typically used as a natural food coloring. Used in moderation, they won’t really change the flavor of recipes— just the color — which is lovely.
- You can find annato seeds in most Mexican markets, and you can get them here.
Roasted Cauliflower with Annatto Seed Oil
There are only three ingredients in this scrumptious vegetarian side dish, it’s a huge crowd pleaser; it’s easy to prepare; and it’s as sweet as candy.
Cooking with Annatto Seed Oil
As mentioned above, the seeds don’t carry too much flavor, but they add a gorgeous color the cauliflower (and all annatto recipe), which increases its beauty and appeal.
They key to the flavor of this cauliflower recipe is cramelizing its surfaces — that’s what brings all the natural sugars — and flavor.
Another beautiful annatto recipe:
And if you can’t get enough cauliflower:
- Cauliflower Steak with Orange-Basil Butter
- Sherry Mushroom Cauliflower “Risotto”
- Creamy Cauliflower-Jalapeño Soup
- Cauliflower-Basil Soup
Roasted Cauliflower with Annatto Seed oil is every bit as delicious as it is pretty. All of the natural sugars in the vegetable come out as it slowly roasts, caramelizing it to perfection. And the annatto seed oil colors it beautifully, making it even more pleasing to the eye.
- 1 tablespoon annatto seeds (optional but suggested)
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds cauliflower
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (Yes, you read that right. The very high heat is crucial in making this so delicious!) Cover a baking sheet with foil and set it aside.
In a small saucepan, gently simmer the annatto seeds with the oil for about 4 minutes. The oil will become a deep golden, reddish color. The longer it sits, the darker it will become. When you're satisfied with the color, strain the oil into a jar, and discard the seeds.
Trim the greens and the root off of the cauliflower and cut it into approx. 1/2-inch slices. You won't have perfect slices, because many of the flowerets will break into pieces. Pour about half of the annatto seed oil on the foil-lined baking sheet and place the cauliflower on top. Drizzle with the remainder of the annatto seed oil and season generously with the salt and pepper.
Roast in the preheated oven until the underside of the cauliflower is golden. Use metal kitchen tongs to flip the pieces over and then brown the other side. Each side should cook for about 10 minutes and ultimately both sides will be beautifully caramelized.