Cauliflower has proved itself the chameleon of the culinary world, adapting well to everything from “rice” to pizza crusts. But no matter how you use it, the key to success is pairing it with high-impact ingredients, even when you do little more than simmer it until fork-tender.
That’s the approach we took with braised cauliflower, drawing on a handful of flavor-packed pantry staples to punch up this versatile vegetable. The resulting dish comes together in just 30 minutes, requiring only a single pan.
To build big flavor, we reach for bacon and toasted garlic—browning them first for a deep richness with a hint of sweetness that readily coats our cauliflower. This forms the backbone of the dish. We inject even more meaty flavor into the cauliflower by simmering it in chicken broth, rather than water.
This method gently—and quickly—cooks the chopped cauliflower, ensuring the pieces are toothsomely tender. Meanwhile, as the ingredients mingle, complex layers of savory, sweet and vegetal permeate all the nooks and crannies of the florets. And a bit of cornstarch thickens up those pan juices, easily transforming them into a rich, gravy-like sauce.
To finish the dish, a scattering of chopped scallions rounds out the flavors, balancing the savory notes with oniony freshness.