Caramelized cauliflower. Caramelized cauliflower. Israeli Kitchen Caramelized cauliflower. (Photo: Miriam Kresh)

Caramelized cauliflower

Drenched in butter, this side dish is indescribably delicious.

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Level: Easy
  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Slow-cooked in tons of (let me whisper it) butter, the humble cauliflower is elevated to surprising heights of deliciousness.

I couldn’t believe this recipe when I first saw it in a local food magazine. So easy, but so much butter. According to them, it originated in Denmark, where butter reigns. Well, Israel has a thriving dairy industry, too, and our butter is excellent. Normally I wouldn’t think of cooking a vegetable with a whole cup of butter – a whole cup of butter – but after I made it, I understood the wisdom.

The cauliflower steams until the butter’s water has evaporated and the vegetable acquires a brown, even black layer where it lay on the bottom of the pan. In the meantime, it has also acquired layers of deep and light flavors …just indescribably delicious.

More good news is, you don’t have to eat all that melted butter. Once you take the cooked cauliflower out, it’s up to you whether to just drizzle a little of that savory butter over it or ignore the butter. Or go for it and pour everything over the vegetable, to let the diners mop it up with fresh bread. Or let it cool, stash it in the fridge, and use some to flavor other dishes. You might have to strain it.

The only big deal about this recipe is fitting the cauliflower into the right size pot. There should be almost no spare room between it and the pot, as you want the slow evaporation to work its magic with diluting the butter. To make this happen, I jam thick slices of unpeeled potatoes around the cauliflower, creating the necessary tight fit. Don’t be tempted to add carrots or other vegetables or even the cauliflower leaves; all release juice. You want the pure taste of cauliflower and butter, and potatoes don’t interfere with that.

The other thing is – it takes an hour and half. But we love slow food, don’t we? Anyway, it takes minutes to put up and then you just forget about while you’re busy with other things.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 clean medium cauliflower without leaves, stem trimmed
  • 1-2 medium potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, and thickly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Cauliflower in a pot.Cauliflower in a pot. (Photo: Miriam Kresh) 

Melt the butter over gentle heat. Place the cauliflower, stalk side up, in a pot selected for its tight fit. If there is free space around the cauliflower, place slices of potato around it to fill it up.

Cover the pot tightly and place over low heat. If you see steam escaping, cover the edges of the pot with a strip of tin foil. Cook for 1 1/2 hours.

The flower end of the vegetable will have become a dark brown, or even black. This is good. Sprinkle salt and pepper over it before serving. Enjoy!

Related Topics: Appetizers, Vegetarian

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