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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Roasted and Charred Cauliflower with Smokey Tahini Vinaigrette (Vegan or Not)

Inspiration:  Roasted Lebanese Cauliflower

The texture of this cauliflower is absolutely amazing.  Allowing it to char slightly under the broiler will render some crispy edges that are delicious.  Where you would serve a salad, try this instead - also makes a great light appetizer or tapas.  You can make it vegan by using smoked tempeh, otherwise, use bacon.   Both versions are wonderful!  I hope you enjoy

Prep time:  about 10 minutes for the cauliflower               
Cooking time:  about 40 minutes - make the vinaigrette while the cauliflower is cooking and that should take about 10 minutes

Roasted and Charred Whole Cauliflower with Smokey Tahini Vinaigrette:  Makes one whole head of cauliflower - enough for about 4 appetizer portions

  • 1 whole cauliflower                                                         
  • 1/3 (80ml) cup of oil                                                                   
  • 1t of turmeric or curcuma                                              
  • 1t of smoked paprika
  • 1t of salt
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds and white pith removed
  • fresh chopped basil leaves as garnish

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).  Slice the cauliflower in half down the centre and then cut each half down the middle.  You will have 4 equal portions of cauliflower.  Remove the leaves and stems.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil (1/3 cup - 80ml), the curcuma/turmeric (1t), the smoked paprika (1t) and the salt (1t).  Add the finely diced half jalapeno.  

Place the cauliflower quarters onto a parchment lined baking sheet and generously brush on the oil/spice mixture - making sure to cover all sides.  Sprinkle with a little additional salt.

Bake the cauliflower in the centre of your oven for 30 -40 minutes, checking to see if it is tender when a sharp knife is inserted into the core.  Turn on the broil and allow to char for about 3 minutes, watching it closely (keep the pan in the centre of the oven to avoid burning).  

Smokey Tahini Vinaigrette:

  • 1T (15 ml) of grain mustard
  • 1.5T (22ml) of seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1t of maple syrup
  • 1.5T (22ml) of tahini
  • about 1/3 cup(100g) of smoked tempeh, cut into small cubes
  • or 4 slices of bacon, chopped in 1/2 inch (13mm) pieces
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in brunoise
  • 2T (30ml) of oil
Place the oil in a small pan over medium high heat (if you are using bacon, use only 1T of oil).  Cook the tempeh for 5 minutes until it begins to colour.  Cook bacon until it begins to crisp.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the tempeh or bacon to a paper towel to drain fat.  If you have more than 2 tablespoons of fat after cooking bacon, remove and discard the excess.

With the fat remaining in the pan, add the diced shallot and carrot and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat to soften.   Transfer to bowl with the bacon.

Whisk together the grain mustard (1T - 15ml), seasoned rice vinegar (1.5T - 22ml), the maple syrup (1t) and the tahini (1.5T -22ml).

Place the cauliflower on a serving plate and spoon over the tempeh or bacon, shallot and carrot.  Drizzle with 4-5 tablespoons (60ml) of vinaigrette and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil as garnish and some freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

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