Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cool as a Cauliflower

I've been getting more adventurous in the kitchen over the last few weeks.  Nothing especially fancy or difficult - just quite different for us.  Chaz is getting braver in the 'lesbian food' department and I'm taking full advantage.  We'd fallen into a habit of eating roast chicken for every other meal and I wanted to branch out and try something new before we completely od'd and never want to look at one ever again.

So, out came Jerusalem - the latest in my Ottolenghi library - and a load of cauliflowers.  I wasn't aware of just how good cauliflowers are for us - apparently they're the most super of all the supers. Cancer fighting, anti oxidising, digestion helping, I could go on. Better than a blueberry dare I suggest.  Roasted in the oven too, they are incredibly delicious.  Not remotely related to the watery, bland, stinky way we ate them at school.  The creation I want to share is one from said book but I didn't have all the ingredients so adapted it and it was still a sensation. I now make it as I did the first time.   I used toasted pine nuts in the place of the hazelnuts and my dressing is a more simple concoction of olive oil, lemon, maple syrup and salt and pepper.  

Here is the proper Ottolenghi recipe.

Roast Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad
1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets (660g) 

3 tbsp olive oil 
Salt and black pepper 
30g hazelnuts
1 large stick of celery, cut on an angle into ½cm slices (70g) 
10g small flat-leaf parsley leaves
50g pomegranate seeds 
¼ tsp ground cinnamon 
¼ tsp ground allspice 
2 tsp sherry vinegar 
1 tsp maple syrup
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Roast the cauliflower by placing it on a parchment lined backing sheet, drizzle with 1-3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss it together with some salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes until parts of it are turning golden brown. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool down.
Decrease the oven temperature to 325 F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I used the same one as the cauliflower, just switched the paper) and roast for 17 minutes (although depending on your oven, I suggest watching these closely, mine were burnt at 17 minutes, and I took my second try out around 10 minutes).
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, sherry vinegar, maple syrup, cinnamon and allspice. Set aside.
Allow the nuts to cool a little, then coarsely chop them and add to the cauliflower, along with the pomegranate seeds, celery, parsley, and the dressing. Stir, taste, and season with salt and pepper accordingly.
Serve at room temperature.

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