Roasted Cauliflower, Elote Style (Mexican Street Corn)
I can't even believe I'm posting this because I AM NOT that person that makes recipes 'but with cauliflower' and calls it better. I hate both cauliflower crust and cauliflower rice both the taste and more so the carb demonization that they stand for. Yet here I am, posting a recipe about cauliflower trying to be something else, so I guess today I am that person. Not cool.
I also don't appreciate taking a dish from a culture I know so little about and making it better. I want to be clear that is not where this comes from, because I don't think this is better, just something entirely different.
So why did I make this at all? I was having a taco party and decided I needed some Mexican street style corn to go with it. Honestly I think that dish is perfect. Only problem was that in late September, the farmers markets here do not have the delicious corn bounty of late August. Instead of scrapping the dish, I grabbed a cauliflower, some salty cheese, and headed home. I realize none of this is an authentic representation at all, the original recipe includes butter, mayo, and boiled not roasted corn. But for the night, it was very tasty and was what I was looking for.
1 head cauliflower, broken into smallish florets (somewhere between a raspberry and an apricot sized)
*note I like to have a variety of sizes so some is super crispy near burnt.
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp whole cilantro leaves
1-2 limes, zested then cut into wedges
some sort of salty, crumbly cheese, preferably cotija or queso fresco. Here I used goat feta based on availability
Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, chili powder, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix this up well so everything is coated. You can always add more spices if you wish, this is your cauliflower after all. Spread the cauliflower pieces in an even layer on a baking dish/tray. This is important! Don't overcrowd your tray or you will get steamed cauliflower and not roasted crispy bits. I know this is annoying, trust me my oven is the size of an Easy Bake Oven so this takes me a few rounds. Roast for 15-20 minutes, then toss it all around and roast for another 10-15 minutes. The edges should be dark and crispy and the center of the florets should be soft.
Toss with chopped cilantro and lime zest. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle whole cilantro leaves and cheese, maybe some flakey salt if it needs an extra salt hit.