Archive for August 29th, 2012

We tend to take vanilla for granted in ice cream and cake, but taste it out of context and its true exotic character blossoms. Vanilla is the fruit of a jungle orchid, and that’s the tropical fragrance that surprises in this spicy, slightly floral, intriguingly crusty side dish of grilled cauliflower.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes
Grill: 20 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Grill screen
– Long-handled tongs or long-handled spatula.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-low (300°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, medium ash
Wood:
12-by-12-inch bed, 2 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 5 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
1 large cauliflower (about 2 pounds), leaves removed
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill screen
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Small pinch ground habanero chile, or other hot ground chile.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Starting at the base, cut the large curds from the stalk of the cauliflower. When you get near the top, the curds will become smaller; cut them from the stalk in one piece. Discard the stalk and cut all of the pieces of cauliflower in half lengthwise. Coat with 1 tablespoon of the canola oil and season with the salt and pepper.
3. Put the grill screen on the grill and coat it with oil. Put the cauliflower on the screen, cut-side down. Cover and cook until browned and tender, about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 300°F.
4. While the cauliflower is grilling, mix the vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, vanilla, and ground chile in a serving bowl. Add the cooked cauliflower and toss to coat.

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