Ina Garten's Cauliflower Toast Recipe Is a Barefoot Contessa Favorite: 'Everyone Goes Crazy for These'

Ina Garten’s recipes are often simple but always flavorful, in part because her cooking philosophy involves making easy meals with good ingredients, without sacrificing flavor. The Barefoot Contessa cauliflower toast recipe is a perfect example of showcasing a fresh vegetable, amping up the flavor with cheese and prosciutto, and piling it on top of a crusty bread.

Ina Garten found the perfect way to showcase cauliflower   

Garten showed off the easy cauliflower toast in a 2018 Instagram post. “I think cauliflower is a highly under-appreciated vegetable,” she captioned the photo. “It browns beautifully when roasted, it makes soups creamy without adding cream, and for these cauliflower toasts, I combine it with gruyere and pancetta on top of crusty bread to make an open-faced sandwich that’s crunchy, creamy, and totally decadent!”

“Everyone goes crazy for these!,” she added.

While demonstrating the cauliflower toasts recipe for her Barefoot Contessa cooking show, Garten first showed a hack for trimming the vegetable. She removed the green part, sliced it in half, and then removed the core to cut the cauliflower into small florets.

Ina Garten’s cauliflower toast recipe is a delicious open-faced sandwich

Garten’s cauliflower toast recipe couldn’t be an easier open -faced sandwich to make. She recommends using a “country bread” or “boule” for this recipe. “It’s got a firm texture,” she explained.

“If you use like a white bread, it’s just going to be too soft and it won’t hold the cauliflower,” she added. (You can find the recipe on the Food Network website.)

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower (2 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature 
  • 6 ounces gruyere cheese, grated 
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, julienned 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 6 large slices country-style bread 
  • Paprika 
  • Freshly grated Italian parmesan cheese 
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives 
  • Flaked sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the cauliflower into ½ inch florets and place them on a sheet pan. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle the vegetables with red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper, tossing to coat and spreading the florets into a single layer. Roast the cauliflower for 30 minutes, tossing two or three times during baking. Allow the cauliflower to cool slightly.

Preheat the broiler and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Place the roasted cauliflower in a bowl and add the mascarpone, gruyere, prosciutto, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Toss everything together to combine the ingredients.

Pile the cauliflower mixture on top of the toasted bread and sprinkle it with paprika. Place the cauliflower toasts on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and place it under the broiler for 3 minutes, watching to make sure the cauliflower doesn’t burn.

Finish the open-faced sandwiches by adding chopped chives, parmesan cheese, and sea salt.

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