I’ve always been a fan of cauliflower since childhood. Over the years, I’ve found recipes to dress up this plain vegetable or transform it into something quite different. Among my favorites are: cauliflower puree (a.k.a. low-carb mashed potatoes) or aloo gobi (Indian cauliflower in a curry sauce, served with potatoes or tomatoes). These are spectacular dishes just the way I like the crunchy meaty texture of cauliflower. Now cauliflower has become trendy in the food world, it’s high time to explore new ways to add to the repertoire.
In Britain, cauliflower is mostly dressed in a cream sauce. Sicilians smother it with chopped anchovies, saffron, currants and almonds and douse it in olive oil. Moroccans put it in tagines. Greeks combine it with tomatoes and dill. Are there any limits what you could do with this vegetable?
What’s more exciting: cauliflower does not have to be white, pale and demure. Besides white, I’ve been spotting green, orange or purple heads of cauliflower in the market. They have pretty colors that hold during cooking. On top of that, techniques from all over the world can work together and meld into a dish that’d satisfy food lovers everywhere.
This recipe is lifted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More after Sami (who is on his team) tasted a similar one at NoMad, a restaurant in New York city run by well-regarded Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park. With all the chef talents behind this, I know I’d get something special.
I was thrilled how this dish turned out. The white cauliflower florets were roasted until golden brown and caramelized. Using grapes, cheddar cheese and hazelnuts was simply brilliant, adding just the right amount of acidity, creaminess and crunch to the dish. I won’t change or add any ingredients to this recipe. This dish is perfectly and expertly composed. Whatever you may do, hold on to the grapes. They just about to steal the show with their unexpected sweetness.
A good Vermont aged cheddar cheese with a spicy chili flavor was my choice for this dish. Put in any of your favorite cheeses. Clearly, the quality and character of the cheese does matter to each bite. Manchego, aged Gouda, feta and Havarti are good companions for cauliflower.
From start to finish, the whole dish can be completed in less than half an hour. After roasting the cauliflower in the oven for 20-25 minites, the salad was dressed and assembled. The star ingredient bronzed, gorgeous and scrumptious. Ready for primetime!
|Added Vermont aged cheddar cheese with chili flavor|