By Amanda Ruben
(The Nosher via JTA) — Cauliflower is probably my favorite vegetable, and I could eat it cooked like this every day. One of my chefs, Matthew Wihongi, created this recipe for our catering business and it really wows.
If you don’t have time to slow roast the cauliflower, parboil it until it is soft enough to pierce with a fork. Then put it in the oven with the saffron liquid and baste until golden.
This recipe is excerpted with permission from “Feasting: A New Take On Jewish Cooking,” by Amanda Ruben, published by Hardie Grant Books in March.
1 large cauliflower head
1 tablespoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra if needed
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups tahini
1/2 cup slivered pistachios, to garnish (optional)
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, to garnish (optional)
2 tablespoons chili threads (optional)
For the tomato salsa:
1/4 red onion, finely diced
5 tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
sea salt, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the cauliflower head on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
2. Combine the saffron threads with 2 cups boiling water and set aside to steep for 15–20 minutes.
3. In a bowl, combine the saffron liquid with the sumac, ground spices, oil and salt. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower, making sure it is evenly coated.
4. Cover the tray with foil and roast the cauliflower in the oven for 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the saffron liquid. Add more oil if needed to keep the cauliflower moist.
5. Remove the foil and roast for another 10 minutes to brown the cauliflower a little.
6. While the cauliflower is browning, make the tomato salsa. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt.
7. To serve, spread the tahini dip on a large platter and place the cauliflower on top. Cut out a generous wedge of cauliflower and pile the tomato salsa inside and around the edge of the cauliflower. Garnish with slivered pistachios, pomegranate seeds and chili threads, if desired. Serves 4-6.
(Amanda Ruben is the founder and owner of Miss Ruben, a New York-inspired deli and cafe in Ripponlea, in the heart of the Jewish community in Melbourne, Australia.)
The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com.