There don’t seem to be too many exciting recipes out there for cauliflower, asides from numerous variations of ‘au gratin’, puréed soups and the like.
I like to eat cauli raw with a hot buttery anchovy-garlic (bagna cauda) dip but it isn’t exactly vibrant-looking on it’s own.
Here’s a recipe that combines the sweet concentrated flavor of a roasted vegetable with Indian spices and a squeeze of lemon – a healthy and visually more appealing way of serving up good old cauliflower that makes a great side dish for any meat or chicken and will also accompany Indian food even though it’s not a traditional Indian recipe.
I haven’t included it here but you could also add a pinch of turmeric to the ground spices. This will give it an extra shot of color, plus turmeric is extremely beneficial, health-wise.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER with CUMIN, CORIANDER, GARLIC & CHILI
(Serves 4 as a side)
1 head of cauliflower – outer green leaves removed and broken into florets
2 tablespoons of light olive oil or grapeseed oil (grapeseed oil is best for hi-temp cooking)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1-2 dried red chilies
1 fat clove of garlic, finely chopped
½ cup of blanched almonds, coarsely crushed
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil and drop the cauliflower florets in there for 2 minutes to blanch them. Drain and allow to completely dry. Once dry, toss the florets in the olive oil, lemon zest and chopped garlic. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F and place a shallow roasting tray in there to heat up.
On the stovetop, heat a heavy skillet and dry-roast the cumin and coriander seeds until they’re slightly darker and becoming fragrant. Add them to the dried chilies with a pinch of sea salt and grind everything in a pestle and mortar (or spice grinder, but not too finely).
Now dry roast the almonds until they become just a bit golden then add them to the cauliflower along with the crushed spices.
Toss everything around to give the cauli a good coating then tip into the preheated pan… roast, turning once or twice for 15-18 mins, or until they start to get tinged brown in places.
Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon juice.
(Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe)