For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.
Life is funny sometimes. It certainly takes unexpected turns. Once you finally feel comfortable in your own skin and have things figured out, it turns your little comfortable world upside down. And when that happens it’s totally up to you what to make of it. Do you despair and bury your head in the sand or do you shift your mindset and try to make the best out of it. Maybe even find genuine joy with your new life situation. At least, that’s always been my ultimate goal. No matter what life threw at me, I wasn’t offended but I took it as a challenge. The challenge to see the good in everything and come up with a solution that works for me. To literally see it as an opportunity. And more than that. An opportunity that significantly improved my little comfortable world.
So, this week life decided to throw one of those challenges at me. I can’t talk about it yet but I’ll be ready soon to share my thoughts and feelings about it. It took me a few days to get my head around it. I wasn’t very fond of it…at all in the beginning. But the more I talk to friends about it, the more I let my mindset accept the new life situation, the more I look forward to the new challenge. And as Martin Luther King, Jr. already rightly said once: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Okay, now that we have established that talk about this crispy and buttery whole roasted cauliflower.
I have always been a fan of cauliflower. I like it cooked, roasted, mashed, as cauliflower rice or steamed. However I’ve never tried a whole roasted cauliflower head…until I visited Israel this past spring. The dish was initially created by Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani 10 years ago. But only in recent years it’s gained a huge popularity and you can find some version of it almost on any menu in Tel Aviv. Now you might think that eating simply a head of cauliflower won’t be very satisfactory as the vegetable itself seems very plain. But the crispy crust on the outside, the butter-like flavour and consistency in the inside makes this a very flavourful dish. It tastes best when served with some kind of tahini sauce, even just pure tahini works great. Top it with parsley and pomegranate seeds for the extra crunch and freshness.
I often hear friends, Instagram followers and even my boyfriend say that they don’t like cauliflower because it either reminds them of the grey mesh served at school or they tried cooking cauliflower themselves and the result wasn’t much better. But I can promise you that this beautiful Israli comfort cauliflower hits all the right spots. It’s also a great dish for sharing, just put it in the middle of the table and serve it with other small Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes and bread.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower
Recipe is inspired by this article on Haaretz.
- 1 whole medium size head of cauliflower covered in green leaves
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- good quality sea salt
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 3 tbsp vegan yoghurt (for example soya yoghurt)
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 handful of flat parsley, chopped
- 2-3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F.
- Place cauliflower in a metal pot and fill 3/4th of it with water. Add 10 g salt per litter of water (this might sound a lot for some of you but trust me, it makes all the difference). Cover with lid, bring to boil and then lower the heat to medium and continue to boil for 10 min. Drain it.
- Either brush the cauliflower with olive oil or put some of the oil on your hands and rub the cauliflower. Sprinkle with a little salt.
- Place cauliflower on a baking dish and bake until the top turns golden. I like to keep in in the oven a little longer so the crust is really crispy and almost dark brown (some spots even burned) but this makes it taste even better.
- In the meantime, mix tahini, vegan yoghurt, lemon juice from 1/2 lemon, some salt and pepper. Adjust to taste by adding more tahini or lemon juice if you like.
- Drizzle tahini sauce on top of cauliflower and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley leaves.
- Serve warm (though this dish tastes still amazing lukewarm and even cold) as a starter or with other mezze and bread as a main dish.