If you think that cast-iron pans are just for cornbread and fried chicken, you’re in for a delightful surprise. One of the main benefits of cast iron is that it heats evenly, something even the most fragile veggies can appreciate—and that includes cauliflower.
My Mema has a wonderful recipe for what she calls “Company Cauliflower.” Traditionally, this is made by coating an entire head of cauliflower in a mayo and Parmesan cheese mixture and then baking the head, intact, in a glass dish. This makes for a beautiful presentation that’s perfect for hosting friends and family! However, I get a little greedy when it comes to that yummy cheese coating, so I like to cut the cauliflower into florets, providing more surface area for the cheese.
Recently, I went to make this dish, and I asked myself the usual question: “Can I make this in cast iron?” As you know, I’ve been challenging myself to convert recipes because I appreciate the health benefits cast iron offers (i.e. more iron in my diet and no chemicals in my food!). However, I admit I was a bit skeptical with this recipe because the cheese is baked onto the cauliflower for 45 minutes. I was afraid I would end up with a baked-on mess or that the cauliflower wouldn’t brown as well. Oh, we of little faith!
Knowing I could clean up any mess I made (and assured that Robby was doing the dishes, anyway), I coated my cauliflower florets and bravely laid them out in my cast-iron skillet. I baked the veggie for the same amount of time as usual and…voila! The cheesy goodness did NOT stick to the pan, and the cauliflower was a perfect texture! I think this turned out better than it ever did when I used a glass dish. (Why did I ever doubt my trusty pan?)
So here you go. It’s my updated recipe for Company Cauliflower, skillet-style. This pairs very well with just about any meat, especially grilled chicken or a simple steak. Oh, and the cheese mixture…you can use that to coat chicken breast strips and bake them the same way. It’s So Good!
Company Cauliflower Skillet
- Cast-iron skillet
- 1 head of cauliflower or fresh florets
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard
- chili powder to taste
- Greek and/or Nature's Own seasoning to taste
- 1/3-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly shredded
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- In a small bowl, mix the mayo and mustard. Don't skimp on the mayo; you'll need more than you think! Add the seasoning to taste. It should be slightly spicy. Avoid adding too much salt because the Parmesan will be salty enough. (I like to use Cavender's Greek seasoning for this, which includes garlic, oregano, onion powder, and parsley.)
- Clean and cut the cauliflower into florets.
- (Optional step) I like to steam the cauliflower for 2 minutes to ensure it cooks to the consistency I like. If you do this, be sure you do not steam any longer or it will turn to mush. This step does not reduce the cook time noted below.
- Coat the florets in the mayo mixture and place in a cast-iron pan (no oil needed). Sprinkle a liberal amount of Parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake the cauliflower, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until it's the desired consistency.
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