Few vegetables have the processing power of cauliflower. Accented with garlic and cream, cauliflower can sneak into your mashed potatoes, lightening the load on traditional potatoes. Topped with crispy batter and Buffalo sauce, cauliflower “wings” could make an appearance at your game day potluck. Chopped into “rice,” cauliflower makes its low-carb debut in Chinese fried rice, absorbing the umami flavors of scallions, scrambled eggs and soy sauce. But here’s another inventive take on cauliflower:
In this Lebanese-inspired recipe, cauliflower steaks — or florets — are a canvas for beautiful Middle Eastern ingredients, like caramelized onions, a sprinkle of pomegranate arils, a sprinkling of sumac, and a drizzle of tahini.
The tart, burgundy-colored sumac berries are widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Here in the United States, you’ll find sumac berries, dried and coarsely ground, widely available in the spice section of well-stocked grocery stores, at specialty markets, or online.
Roasted Cauliflower with Citrus Tahini Sauce
For 4 people
1 large cauliflower, cut lengthwise into “steaks” or florets
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil, divided use
2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 additional minced clove for the tahini sauce
1 teaspoon of sumac
Salt, pepper to taste
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of tahini
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons of orange juice
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon pomegranate arils, optional
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the cauliflower into “steaks” and place on a large baking sheet.
In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and sumac. Brush cauliflower steaks with garlic oil mixture. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Carefully turn the steaks, brush with the remaining garlic oil and cook for another 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute onions for 15 minutes or until caramelized, adding salt to taste. Put aside.
For the tahini sauce, place the tahini, 1 minced garlic clove and the citrus juice in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add salt to taste. If the mixture seems too thick to drizzle, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
Once the cauliflower is roasted, place it on a plate and garnish with caramelized onions. Drizzle with tahini sauce, then sprinkle with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and feta and serve immediately.
Blanche Shaheen is the author of a cookbook and a YouTube cooking show, Feast in the Middle East. Read her food blog at www.feastinthemiddleeast.com. Follow her at www.youtube.com/user/blanchetv.