Caramelized Caulifower Frittata – Recipe

Caramelized Cauliflower Frittata

Cauliflower has a split personality. Boiled or steamed, it is kind of cabbagey, bland and slightly bitter. But roasted or sauteed until it has lots of dark brown caramelized spots all over, it becomes luscious and savory and altogether craveable. Deep fried, it is so good that my wife and I drove half way across LA in rush hour traffic just to get a second helping.

Caramelized_Cauliflower_Fritatta This simple frittata emphasizes that intense caramelized cauliflower flavor with a big helping of fresh herbs. I used a combination of parsley, thyme, marjoram and a little mint, but you can adjust it to what you have on hand or what sounds good with the rest of your meal. Use about a 1/2 cup of packed leafy herbs, less if they are very intense like tarragon. Don't use anywhere near this much of something woody like rosemary.

Caramelized_Cauliflower_Fritatta3Once you have cooked the cauliflower and mixed it with the eggs, you can either start cooking the eggs on the stove and finish in the oven, or do the whole thing in the oven.

I like this best served room temperature or cold, though piping hot can be good too. Served just warm with a bracing salad makes a great light lunch. Another good option is to cut it into bite sized pieces and serve on baguette slices with aioli and pickled onions, as an appetizer or party snack.

Caramelized Cauliflower Frittata
Vegetarian and gluten-free
Serves 4 as a light entree or 8 as a first course

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + a little extra
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk
  • 1/2 cup packed minced leafy fresh herbs – for example parsley, thyme, marjoram, and a little mint
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt
  • optional garnish: smoked paprika, more fresh cut herbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat a 12 inch oven-proof non-stick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil, the cut-up cauliflower, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Saute, tossing occasionally, until tender and well caramelized. It should be quite brown in many spots. Just towards the end, add the garlic. Taste and adjust salt.
  3. Remove the cauliflower to a bowl, and let both the skillet and the cauliflower cool a bit, so they don't overcook the eggs on contact.
  4. Whisk the eggs thoroughly. Whisk in the cream, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the herbs, and the lemon zest.
  5. Drizzle a little more olive oil in the pan. Put the cauliflower back in the pan and distribute evenly over the bottom. Pour in the eggs and shake a little to distribute. Put over a medium flame and cook until beginning to set. 
  6. Cover with tin foil and bake until fully set. This could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on how much you cooked the eggs in step 5. Lately I've preferred to let the oven do more of the work, but either way is fine. You just want to be sure to get them fully cooked and not runny, but don't go so far past that that you have rubbery eggs.
  7. Cut into wedges and garnish with the smoked paprika and/or fresh herbs as desired.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Thursday, December 10th, 2009 in Appetizers, Breakfast, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Main Courses, Recipes.

6 Responses to “Caramelized Caulifower Frittata – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    December 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm #

    Good luck with the show! I hope you make it. I’ve made several of your recipes & think that having a voice for vegetarianism on TV that can prove that we eat well & make delicious food would be great. I almost auditioned for the last season of Hell’s Kitchen myself, but chickened out.

  2. Reply
    December 10, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    Good luck! 🙂 It will be great fun to watch you! Do let us know.

    And – I adore cauliflower though I do find Frittatas a little eggy, but this is an idea!

  3. Reply
    December 12, 2009 at 3:53 am #

    Good luck with teh show. It rated really well over here in Australia earlier in the year and has rated well in the UK for a few years. We had one vegetarian get through to the top 50 but she didn’t make the top 20. Be prepared for taste tests (and yes it will most likely have meat in it, so know your smells if you won’t eat it!). If you make the top 20 and get onto the show then if they follow the same format there will be mystery box challenges, which can contain anything. Usually 5 or 6 ingredients. The invention test, which was often themed and there was one core ingredient that was used. And the bottom three each week had to do the pressure test, which was the same recipe for all three and the best two tasting got to stay. This got harder and harder as the show went on. In the last couple of weeks they had 2 hours to make a crochenbush.

    Had never thought of using cauliflower in a savoury way, might have to try this! Thanks.

  4. Reply
    December 12, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while — always interesting and informative, and wonderful recipes! I was particularly interested in and impressed by your essay on why you are vegetarian. It surprises me that someone as thoughtful as you seem to be would be willing to associate with Gordon Ramsey. According to his wikipedia article ( link to ) he says he has lied to vegetarian diners to “conceal the presence of chicken stock in his soup.” This is someone you want to work with?

  5. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    December 12, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

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    Thanks for the note, Sheilah, and I'm glad you like the blog. Well, that GR event you describe (and which if you follow the footnotes you can learn about in more detail) is rotten for sure and I certainly don't condone it. I also wouldn't rule out being on his show based on that one incident. Parenthetically, I've watched quite a few episodes of Kitchen Nightmares and he very often helps people in rather dire straits to get their restaurants and lives back together – even if it does often involve a lot of bluster.

  6. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    December 12, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

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    Thanks for the detailed info about the show! I clearly should watch some of the UK and Australian episodes on the web.

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