After a little hiatus, I have been straying back towards my favourite Middle Eastern flavours again recently. This week it has been all about roasted cauliflower salad. Being the daughter of British parents, growing up my only experience of cauliflower was ‘cauliflower cheese’. I used to love it but mainly for the cheese sauce (to be honest there could have been any vegetable hiding under all that creamy cheese). Which leads me to wonder why the Brits didn’t create ‘brussels sprouts cheese’?! Somehow the dreaded brussel sprout was always just boiled and sitting on the plate threatening fartiness with no hint of a smothering cheese sauce to help it down the hatch.
In contrast, this salad makes the most of cauliflower and is fantastic on it’s own as a light dinner or lunch or if you are feeling like something more, it is a great accompaniment to lamb or chicken. It also works beautifully alongside other Middle Eastern salads for a BBQ.
Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad
Recipe adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Serves 2 – 4
1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large stick of celery, sliced on the diagonal
10g flat leaf parsley
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Mix the cauliflower with 3 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 mins until the cauliflower is golden brown in parts. Transfer to your salad bowl and leave to cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C and place your hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for about 10-15 minutes (I sometimes do this in a dry frying pan to colour them a little which seems to be quicker). Make sure you keep an eye on them because nuts burn in the blink of an eye. Let the nuts cool down slightly, then roughly chop.
Add the nuts to the cauliflower along with the celery, pomegranate and parsley. Make a dressing using the spices and syrup and olive oil. Whisk to combine and pour over the salad.
Serve at room temperature.