Ok. This dish uses what are usually marketed in the U.S. as “Italian” herbs. But the French prepare it this way and the French love it this way. And when you say Brocoli et Chou-fleur Italien like the French do, it becomes a French dish, right? Of course if you really would rather call it Italian Brocolli and Cauliflower, in the same way that Shakespeare’s rose smelled just as sweet by any other name, the dish by an English name will taste just as delicious as Brocoli et Chou-fleur Italien.
At least almost.
I’m sticking with the French — mostly because I love the sound of the word Chou-fleur almost as much as I love the taste of it. But I digress…
The key is caramelization.
And the way to get optimum caramelization on these kinds of vegetables is light seasoning, good quality Olive Oil, and slow-roasting in an oven in the right kind of pan.
Over the next few weeks, I will be posting my favorite slow-roasted vegetable recipes. Each features a different main vegetable and each has a variation of seasonings and flavors.
But here is what is really special about them. I’m not only sharing each recipe, starting with this one for Brocoli et Chou-fleur Italien, but I’m also going to share six important secrets.
First, each slow-roasted vegetable dish like this one for broccoli and cauliflower is fully and deliciously Keto-friendly.
The net carbs are exceptionally low. The vitamin and mineral content is high. And even if you don’t like a particular vegetable, the caramelization process brings out the sweetness and yet magically doesn’t increase the sugar content in any meaningful way.
Second, each slow-roasted vegetable dish pairs with virtually any main dish.
Brocoli et Chou-fleur Italien is a perfect example.
It is delicious as a companion to pretty much any kind of meat, fowl, or fish, no matter the preparation. Whether prepared in a cream sauce, a butter sauce, a spicy mustard sauce, au jus, heavily herbed, Tandoori, minimally flavored with lemon juice, or simply touched with salt and pepper, slow roasted veggies work with whatever main dish they are served with.
Think of them as the “Chef’s Neutral — but with Flavor.”
For example, this slow-roasted broccoli and cauliflower dish pairs super well with spicy dishes like our fabulous Portuguese recipe for Chicken Vinha D’Alhos.
Third, just like this recipe for broccoli and cauliflower, every slow-roasted vegetable dish plays well with other slow-roasted vegetable dishes.
Broccoli and cauliflower work well in this recipe, but you can substitute pretty much any vegetable you want. Just use these spices and cook this way. You may find slight variations in cooking time, but a slow oven is very forgiving so the exact cooking time is probably not going to make a lot of difference.
Of the all of the slow-roasted vegetable dishes I will be posting over the next couple of weeks, each dish has different seasoning. But all three play well together as a complete vegetarian Keto meal if veggie-orientation is your yen. The variation of spices gives contrast. But the fact that they are all caramelized by the slow roasting ties them together beautifully.
As I add more variations on the theme, I’ll link them from recipe to recipe.
And I’ll also be adding recipes for the herb and spice mixtures in case you like using fresh herbs from your garden like I do.
You can find the link to a recipe for the homemade Kickass Italian Seasoning that I used in this dish at the end of this article.
Fourth, you can slow-roast several vegetables at a time and store them — because they re-heat easily without loss of flavor.
Roasting a duo or trio of dishes together has several advantages. You heat up your oven only once, but when you heat it, you use pretty much the whole oven so no space and no wattage goes to waste. Since slow-roasted vegetables always blend with each other — when you season them differently like we do in this series of recipes, there is a subtle flavor change that teases out the individual flavor of each. And in the rare instance they are not all consumed in one meal, roasted vegetables keep well in the refrigerator and they are easy to reheat.
To re-heat, you can use a microwave, a stove-top pan, or an air-fryer.
For this slow-roasted broccoli and cauliflower dish, I find either the air-fryer or the microwave work well to reheat it. I typically heat it portion by portion rather than re-heating the whole dish — unless we intend to consume all of the leftovers at one sitting.
Fifth, the best pan for slow-roasted vegetable is a good quality earthenware Au Gratin dish properly sized to the amount of vegetables you are cooking.
I strongly suggest using a heavy au gratin dish for each my slow-roasted vegetable dishes even if you are not using the typical au gratin ingredients of bread crumbs and grated cheese. A good au gratin dish roasts both tender and hard vegetables perfectly if you know how to roast them correctly.
In many types of cookware, I personally prefer Le Creuset pans over pretty much any other brand. But my favorite au gratin dishes are from Le Creuset’s longtime rival Staub. The name Staub is pronounced like the English word stove except with a ‘b’ sound on the end of it instead of a ‘v’ sound. It sounds like a German word to my ears, but Staub is an old-line French manufacturing company of highest quality cookware. Like Le Creuset, Staub specializes both in earthen ware and in enamel-coated cast iron. In both lines, the better au gratins are earthen ware.
Over the course of a couple of years of bargain hunting, I found three different sizes of Staub au gratin dishes that nest so that they are both easy to store and I always have at least one dish that matches the size of the vegetables I happen to have on hand any given day. That’s important because properly matching the size of the dish to the amount of vegetables to be roasted has a big impact on taste.
I have the 14.5-inch Staub Au Gratin Dish available on Amazon in this versatile color called Basil that goes with everything in my kitchen. My mother used to say that green is God’s favorite neutral — all you have to do is look in any garden or field of flowers to find it blending all of the beautiful colors together. And I have found this green really does go with everything in my house. The interior of all of the Staub au gratins is Rustic Ivory rather than stark white, which makes them very easy to keep looking new. But, as with all Staub bakeware, there are lots of color choices. All of their au gratins come in Basil, Cherry, Dark Blue, Rustic Ivory, Rustic Red, Rustic Turquoise, and White as well as in a Matte White and a Matte Black. I would suggest avoiding the matte colors from a maintenance perspective.
Always clean them only with baking soda and a sponge or dishcloth. You will find them easy to clean that way and as long as you do not scratch them in the cleaning process, they will last forever. Baking soda is perfect for both earthen ware and enamel ware. Cheap, non-abrasive, non-toxic, and it works miraculously.
I also have the 11-inch Staub Au Gratin Dish in White — the only one with a truly stark white interior — and I have the 9-inch Staub Au Gratin Dish also in Basil. The smallest size, the 6.5-inch Staub Au Gratin Dish I don’t have yet, but plan to order in this adorable Rustic Turquoise. All of them are available on Amazon. Each of these are great additions to any kitchen. You will find you use them far more often that you think you will. And you will be happy you have them every single time you pull one out.
Sixth, roast vegetables like this broccoli and cauliflower dish in a “slow” oven of 250 F to 275 F.
You will find all sorts of recipes telling you to oven-roast veggies at high heats. Don’t.
If you cook them low and slow, the taste is remarkably better.
Depending on your oven, start at 250 F, at least no more than 275 F, and plan to roast them about an hour. Check at 40 minutes, then judge additional time from there. The rule of thumb is 60 minutes at 250 F or 45 minutes at 275 F. But don’t take that as blackletter law.
Don’t forget to use both your nose and your eyes when you are cooking because what is unwritten in many recipes is that just-out-of-the-garden vegetables have higher water content than those that have been sitting in cold storage or a grocer’s bin for a week or two — so they will cook at different rates. Always use temperatures and cooking times as guidelines rather than laws. The better the cook, the more they tend to rely on the nose. You simply know it’s done because you smell it.
Just remember low-and-slow gives the best caramelization (read that taste) for almost every vegetable there is. It works the same for most meats, too, but that is a separate post…
So without further ado, here is the first of my three quick and easy roasted vegetable dishes — Brocoli et Chou-fleur Italien.
- 11-inch au gratin dish
- Heat your oven to 250 F. Use a Convection Roast setting if you have a convection oven.
- Wash and cut the brocolli and cauliflower into as evenly sized florets as possible. Dry them as well as you are able.
- Combine the brocolli and cauliflower in a medium bowl. Add one tablespoon of the olive oil, the herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix well enough to coat all of the vegetables.
- Pour the mixture into the au gratin pan.
- Roast until they begin to carmelize. This will typically be 40 to 45 minutes depending on your oven. Expect this dish may take up to an hour to be fully carmelized. Just be sure to use your nose for timing.
You can easily make your own Italian Seasoning just like Mimi does.
Be sure to check out our our quick and easy recipe for our homemade Kickass Italian Seasoning. It’s what we used to season the broccoli and cauliflower in this recipe.