Roasted cauliflower steak with capers, pancetta and raisins

Another magical cauliflower recipe.
Don’t have two 12-inch ovenproof skillets? Sear off the cauliflower steaks in two batches, then roast all four steaks on a half-sheet pan, instead of in the two skillets.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 6.51.50 AM

5 (1/4-inch-thick) slices pancetta (5 ounces), diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp salt
2 pinches of sugar
1 large head cauliflower, sliced into 4 thick “steaks”. (Don’t worry if you get several smaller “steaks” instead, it’s hard not to break them up a bit)
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup capers, drained

Put the oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400F.

Cook the pancetta in 1 dry 12-inch skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off the fat and wipe the skillet clean.

Stir together the raisins and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Heat 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1/8 tsp salt, and a pinch each of sugar and pepper in 2 x 12-inch skillets over medium-high heat, swirling skillets occasionally, until butter begins to brown.
Add 2 cauliflower steaks to each skillet and lightly season with salt and pepper then cook until the undersides are golden, about 4 minutes.

Transfer the skillets to the oven and roast the cauliflower, without turning, switching the position of the skillets halfway through roasting, until the cauliflower is just tender and the undersides are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes (depending on thickness).

While the cauliflower roasts, bring the water just to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then stir in the pancetta, capers, and raisins with lemon juice. Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter, and stir until incorporated.
Remove from the heat, and season with pepper.
Carefully invert the cauliflower steaks with a spatula onto a platter, and spoon the sauce over them.


Roasted and spiced cauliflower “couscous”

This recipe is a wonderful template for adding extra things of your choice like dried cranberries, roasted pine nuts, almonds or cashew nuts, chopped scallions and some chopped Kalamata olives. You can’t go wrong as the cauliflower lends itself beautifully to most additions.
Roasting the cauliflower provides a wonderful nutty and sweet flavor and this dish is so easy to make.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 12.17.37 PM

Serve 4

1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
1/2 to 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
a little olive oil
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
extra virgin olive oil
A handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and ground black pepper

Toss the cauliflower florets together with the turmeric and fennel seeds in a roasting dish with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.
Place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until the cauliflower is beginning to turn golden but is still al dente. (The latter is important, because if it is overcooked you will end up with more of a mush than a couscous effect)
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Tip the cauliflower into a food processor and pulse gently until it resembles couscous. Again, be careful not to over-process.
Transfer to a bowl, stir in the lemon zest, a little extra virgin olive oil and the mint (plus any other things of your choice) and check for seasoning.

Curried onion and cauliflower hummus

Cooking the dried garbanzo beans (chick peas) in baking soda, softens them and makes this hummus extra silky. The curried onion-cauliflower topping adds tons of wonderful flavor.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.16.32 AM

1lb (2 1/2 cups) dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight and drained
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Canola oil, for frying
1/2lb cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch florets
2 tsp curry powder
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp finely crushed pink peppercorns
Chopped parsley, for garnish

In a saucepan, cover the garbanzo beans, garlic and baking soda with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring every 15 minutes, until the garbanzo beans are tender, 50 mins, if necessary, add water to them to keep them covered.

Drain the garbanzo beans and garlic and transfer to a food processor. Puree until very smooth.
With the machine on, gradually add the tahini, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and the cumin. Season the hummus with salt.

In a skillet, heat 1/4 inch of canola oil. Add the cauliflower florets and fry over moderately high heat, stirring, until tender and deeply browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain. Add 1 tsp of the curry powder and toss well. Season with salt and toss again.

Pour off all but 1/4 cup oil from the skillet. Add the onion and a big pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just starting to soften and brown in spots, about 5 minutes.
Add the pink peppercorns and the remaining 1 tsp of curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.

Spoon the hummus into a bowl and top with the onion and cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with parsley and serve
Serve with warm pita bread.

Roasted cauliflower with truffled pea pesto and feta crema

I had this at “Etch” in Nashville recently and thought I had died and gone to heaven. It is a stunning appetizer with two fabulous dips and would be wonderful to serve for a dinner party as it’s so easy.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.02.40 AM

Serve 4 (or 2 if you adore it)

1 head of cauliflower cut into bite sized florets
1 tbsp olive oil plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper
Pea shoots or micro greens for garnish
A few salted almonds or Marcona almonds dropped onto the pea pesto
A few green olives and thinly sliced scallions for garnish

Pea pesto
2 cups fresh blanched peas or 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water
(Some people swear by adding 2 drops of liquid smoke, but it’s optional)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan
½ tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp truffle oil
For the pea pesto
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the peas with the butter and water until they are tender.
Add all the ingredients except the truffle oil to a blender, and mix slowly.
Gradually increase the speed until the mixture is creamy, adding truffle oil as you blend.
Add a few drops of water if the mixture is too thick.

Feta crema
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup cauliflower, shaved with a box grater to snow-like consistency
Salt and pepper
For the Feta Crema
Stir the ingredients together until smooth

For the cauliflower
Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste
Spread out the cauliflower on a baking sheet into an even single layer.
Roast until the edges are browned and the florets are easily pierced with a knife, between 15 and 20 minutes
To Serve
Place the roasted cauliflower florets in the center of a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil.
On one side of the florets mound the pea pesto and on the other side, mound the feta crema.
Garnish with the pea shoots or other seasonal micro greens, scallions, olives and almonds.

Compote of salmon and cauliflower cream

This really gorgeous starter can be ideally served for both lunch and dinner. Either make it in a 4″ ring mold or make it like in this picture, in a small chilled glass.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 12.34.39 PM

Makes 6 portions

One side of salmon, about 2 3/4 lbs (skinned, fileted, and pin boned)
1 3/4 pints extra virgin olive oil
A bunch of dill
1 tsp rock salt

For the Cauliflower cream
1 medium cauliflower
whole milk
A handful of fresh cilantro
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 tsp white peppercorns, crushed
17 fl oz heavy cream
salt and white pepper, freshly ground

Preheat the oven to 90C/200F/Gas 1/2
Place the salmon in a suitable container lined with foil, and cover with the olive oil and fresh dill. Sprinkle with rock salt.
Fold the foil over and place the container in preheated oven, making sure that the salmon is completely immersed in the oil. The cooking time will be around 20 minutes. The salmon should then be taken out of the oven and left in the oil.

Cauliflower cream
Break the cauliflower into small florets, and place in a pan with enough milk to cover. Tie the fresh cilantro and crushed seeds and peppercorns in a small piece of muslin and place in the milk. Cook until the cauliflower florets are very soft.
Drain off and discard the milk, remove and discard the small muslin bag, then puree the cauliflower.
Leave to cool, then gently fold in the double cream. Season as required, then chill.

Gently remove the salmon from the oil, removing any dill. Drain off any excess oil, then gently flake the salmon.

To serve,
Place a 10cm ring mold (with 7cm diameter) on the first plate. Place some flaked salmon in the bottom of the mold. (or put some flaked salmon into a chilled glass)
Spoon the chilled cauliflower cream on top and garnish with a small seasonal salads, and toasted brioche.
Remove the mold and create compotes of salmon on the other plates.
You can also garnish the dish with tomato (cut into tiny cubes), coriander oil and a mixture of mushroom powder and olive oil.

Roasted cauliflower with toasted garlic breadcrumbs, saffron and dried cranberries

My favorite vegetable and the most versatile and low calorie one around. This is sort of like a Sicilian recipe but replaces the raisins with the dried cranberries to make it a little different.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 3.37.39 PM

Serves 4

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
A few tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
pinch saffron
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 F
In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower together with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread out on a baking sheet into a single layer. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until brown at the tips.

In the meantime,in a small saucepan, bring the stock up to the boil, add the saffron and cranberries and remove from the heat.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the foam starts to subside, add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the capers for another 30 seconds and then the breadcrumbs. Toast for a minute or two, until golden brown and then remove from the heat.

Toss the cauliflower together with the saffron/cranberry mixture and the toasted pine nuts.
Top with the capers and breadcrumbs and some chopped parsley and serve immediately.

NB You can substitute the cauliflower or add Brussels sprouts or broccoli florets to it and treat it the same way as the cauliflower.

Pasta with cauliflower, raisins, saffron and pine nuts

I realize I have many cauliflower recipes and am happy to add yet another. Such a humble, unpretentious vegetable, the cauliflower, where the repertoire of flavor combinations is endless. Yet again, this Sicilian-style recipe is a must.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 4.08.13 PM

Serves 4

12 oz bucatini pasta or a one of your choice
1 small cauliflower,cut into florets
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp raisins, soaked in warm water for 20 mins, drained
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan
2 salted anchovies, soaked in water for 1 hour,drained
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tomato, finely chopped
A good pinch of saffron strands (soaked in 1 tbsp warm water)
Approx 10 basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve: Freshly grated pecorino cheese Toasted breadcrumbs (optional)

Fill a large (approx. 6 litre) heavy bottomed saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add approx. 1 tbsp of salt.
Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook for a few minutes (they should still be crunchy). Drain the cauliflower and reserve the cooking water.
Add the olive oil to the pan and gently fry the garlic and finely chopped anchovies, till the anchovies have melted and the garlic is soft.
Next add the tomatoes, pine nuts, raisins and saffron.
Cook the mixture over a medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 5-6 mins.
Add the drained cauliflower to the pan and season with salt and black pepper.
Cover and cook (medium heat) for a further 5 mins, adding a couple of tablespoons of the cauliflower water occasionally, to stop the mixture from sticking.
Reduce the heat, then remove the lid and continue cooking while you prepare the pasta (stir the cauliflower regularly).
Using the cauliflower water, cook the pasta so it’s a little undercooked (a little harder than “al dente”).
Drain,leaving a little water clinging to the pasta, then add to the sauce. Mix well, then cover and cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes, or until pasta is completely cooked.
Finally add the chopped basil leaves and stir. 1
Toss the finished pasta with a little extra olive oil and serve with some grated pecorino.
You can also serve this pasta dish topped with some fried breadcrumbs instead of the cheese.