Trim the cauliflower head to remove any green leaves and cut the stem flush with the bottom. Cut a couple of slits into the core, extending into the thick branches of the cauliflower but keeping the florets intact.
In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of oil with 2 teaspoons garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon salt. Brush or rub the marinade all over the cauliflower.
Place the cauliflower on a greased baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, and then remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown and tender but not too soft.
Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan add ½ cup sugar and enough water for the mixture to resemble wet sand (about 2 tablespoons).
Heat the sugar mixture over medium-high heat until the sugar granules dissolve entirely and bubbles form. Let the sugar caramelize to the desired color. The darker it is, the deeper the flavor (I like it medium-deep).
Swirl the pan gently to help it cook evenly, but don't agitate too much, or the caramel will crystallize.
Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup sherry vinegar and 2 tablespoons red wine, if using. [To keep the splattering to a minimum, pour in the vinegar swiftly rather than adding it little by little. The sugar will immediately harden, creating a unique, layered-looking design.]
Reduce the heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves into the vinegar. Let simmer to the desired thickness. Bear in mind that the gastrique will thicken as it cools.
Add the sliced chili pepper and remove from heat.
Spread 2-3 tablespoons of guacamole salsa on the bottom of your serving plate. Place roasted cauliflower on top, drizzle with gastrique sauce and top with pepitas and microgreens. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Use a medium or a large-size pan to make the gastrique. It will minimize the sugar and sauce splattering on your stove.
If your sauce is too thick, add more vinegar until you reach desired thinness.
Safety warning: when sugar is caramelized, do not touch or place any non-heat-proof utensils in it before adding the vinegar, as it is scorching.
Make the gastrique ahead and reheat just before serving.
Instead of roasting the whole head, you can separate it into two-three clusters of florets (as they do at Livery) or cut into steaks. This is quicker to make and easier to serve. Brush the steaks with oil marinade. Bake at 400 F for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
I use a pastry brush to rub the marinade all over the cauliflower, but you can also use your hands.
Baking time may vary depending on your oven and the size of your cauliflower or how soft you want it, so keep your eye on it.
If your cauliflower is already golden brown, but not soft enough, cover with aluminum foil again and bake until soft.
This dish tastes best when served fresh out of the oven.
For the best results, read all my other tips in the post above.