Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower “Shawarma”

It’s been about three years now that I’ve been making Bon Appetit’s parmesan-roasted cauliflower, a recipe Molly Wizenberg wrote about on her blog and described as a “go-to”. Here’s the gist: cauliflower florets, a sliced onion, and a few unpeeled  garlic cloves dressed with olive oil and a few thyme sprigs roast for 40 minutes on a sheet pan, where they caramelize before they meet a showering of salty, grated parmesan. The combination of sweet and salty, as you can imagine, is incredibly delicious.
It’s been about three years now that I’ve been making Bon Appetit’s parmesan-roasted cauliflower, a recipe Molly Wizenberg wrote about on her blog and described as a “go-to”. Here’s the gist: cauliflower florets, a sliced onion, and a few unpeeled  garlic cloves dressed with olive oil and a few thyme sprigs roast for 40 minutes on a sheet pan, where they caramelize before they meet a showering of salty, grated parmesan. The combination of sweet and salty, as you can imagine, is incredibly delicious.

Ingredients

  •     Neutral oil, for greasing
  •     1 large head cauliflower (about 2.5 lbs pre trimming), cut into florets, large florets halved or quartered if necessary (see photo above as a reference)
  •     1 large onion, sliced
  •     5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  •     Kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  •     1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds or ground cumin, see notes above
  •     1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds or ground coriander, see notes
  •     2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  •     1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  •     2 cloves garlic, minced
  •     6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 1.5 lbs.
  •     Lemon wedges, naan, and yogurt sauce (see notes) for serving

Instructions

  1.     Preheat the oven to 425ºF and position a rack in the center. Rub a sheet pan with about a teaspoon of neutral oil. Place cauliflower florets and onion on top. Season all over with a teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper to taste, and 3 tablespoons of the oil.
  2.     In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and cayenne. (If using whole seeds, see notes above.) Pour half (about 1 tablespoon and a scant teaspoon) of this mixture over the cauliflower. Use your hands to toss the cauliflower and onions evenly with the oil and spice mix. Transfer pan to the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing once after about 20 minutes.
  3.     Meanwhile, place chicken thighs in a large bowl. Season all over with salt (at least another teaspoon). Add the remaining spice mix, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and minced garlic. Toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature while vegetables roast.
  4.     Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Toss everything around. Nestle the thighs around the vegetables. Return pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes—if thighs are large, they may need 5 more minutes or so. Cut into one to check. Remove pan from the oven and let everything rest on the sheet pan for 10 minutes.
  5.     Meanwhile, stir together the yogurt sauce (see notes), warm up some naan, cut the lemons, etc. When chicken has rested, transfer it to a platter to cut or cut directly on the sheet pan, taking care not to ruin your pan. The chicken should be in 1- to 2-inch cubes or so—about the same size as the cauliflower. Return chicken to sheet pan or to a serving platter along with the cauliflower. Toss everything together. Taste. Adjust with more salt and pepper if necessary and squeeze a lemon over everything, if desired. To serve, spread naan with yogurt sauce, nestle chicken and cauliflower inside, and eat taco-style. Alternatively, serve the naan on the side and eat with a knife and fork. Serve lemon wedges on the side.