Sadly for those of us who play at I Heart Cooking Clubs, our six-month journey with the amazing Yotam Ottolenghi ends this week. To a person, we've been inspired, surprised and amazed by dish after dish of incredible flavours and textures, by "new to us" ingredients and by new ways to use them. I've been cooking on a regular basis with Ottolenghi for about 3 years now, but he still never ceases to surprise me with taste and texture combinations that are a pure delight, and although we are effectively farewelling him this week, his dishes will continue to play a starring role in my kitchen.
I had planned to share a round-up this week of my favourites, but of the 20-plus Ottolenghi dishes I've made over the last six months, I just couldn't narrow it down to four or five, instead I'm going to celebrate the way in which he has opened my eyes to wonderful ways with cauliflower. I've always loved cauliflower - it's one of my favourite vegetables - but until my introduction to Ottolenghi I was always at a bit of a loss for interesting ways to prepare and eat it. In the past, it's always just been a bit of a side dish, enjoyable but not particularly remarkable unless smothered in a cheese sauce!! Now, thanks to some of these wonderful dishes, I'm happy to make a meal of cauliflower.
There was Chargrilled Cauliflower, Tomato & Fennel Salad ...
... and Roasted Cauliflower & Almond Salad ...
... and the Saffron Cauliflower from Plenty, a dish which, although I'm yet to share with you, I've made many times. Trust me, if you happen to have Plenty in your cookbook collection, you need to make this dish.
Then there was the Fried Cauliflower with Pine Nuts, Capers & Chillies which my friend, Michelle at Ms. enPlace made. I haven't had a chance to make this one yet, but it's high on my must-make list.
And, today's discovery from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, this recipe for Fried Cauliflower with Tahini & Pomegranate. I made a few small changes to the original recipe. Now I'm sure that a whole bunch of cauliflower fried in two cups of sunflower oil would taste amazing, but looking for a healthier version I used a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil instead. Still tasted amazing and went a beautiful golden brown in no time. The original dish was designed to serve six as part of a mezze feast, but I cut quantities back to make a substantial meal for one, and adjusted all the sauce quantities accordingly. I also left out spring onions, as I didn't really feel the need for them, and I finished off by tossing a few pomegranate seeds in at the end.
I'm also sharing this dish at Tasting Jerusalem, where our theme for the month is pomegranate molasses. I've used pomegranate molasses in a number of different Ottolenghi dishes in the past, such as Lamb-Stuffed Quince with Coriander & Pomegranate, ...
... and the earlier mentioned Roasted Cauliflower & Almond Salad.
You might also be interested in a few other ideas for using pomegranate molasses. I actually posted some of these suggestions way back in one of my very first posts on this blog, but that was before anybody ever read this blog, so they bear repeating:
Make a refreshing drink by mixing 1 teaspoon of pomegranate molasses with lemon juice and sugar; then add water or soda and adjust to your taste. You could also turn this into a cocktail by adding the alcohol of your choice – vodka and rum both work really well with this.
Use to glaze the skin of a chicken or duck breast before cooking – skin will be crispy and a little sour.
Glaze a rack of lamb before cooking, or use to dip barbecued lamb cutlets.
Make a marinade for salmon fillets by combining: 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup dry sherry, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 clove of garlic, crushed. Marinate up to 4 hours, remove from marinade and bake in a 160oC oven for 10 minutes. While fish is baking pour marinade into a saucepan, and reduce over low heat to about half. Drizzle reduced pomegranate marinade over fish to serve.
Baked fish parcels – place pieces of firm fleshed fish in centre of piece of tinfoil or parchment paper, drizzle over pomegranate molasses, slivers of garlic, sliced lemon, and finely sliced fennel. Complete with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, close up parcel, and bake at 180oC till cooked through.
Make a dressing using pomegranate molasses, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt and freshly ground black pepper, add chopped flat leaf parsley and mint. Use this dressing over any of the following combinations:
* Char-grilled eggplant and courgette, roasted tomatoes and carrots, black olives and feta cheese
* Roasted pumpkin and mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, baby spinach and grilled haloumi
* Mesclun leaves, toasted hazelnuts, sliced apple, dates and goats cheese
Drizzle pomegranate molasses over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers.
Do you have any other great ideas for using pomegranate molasses? If so, I'd love to hear about them. In the meantime, on with today's recipe ...
Fried Cauliflower with Tahini & Pomegranate
Adapted from recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Serves four as part of a mezze table
or serves two as a generous side dish
or serves one as a substantial meal
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
1/2 a head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup natural Greek-style yoghurt
1x garlic clove, crushed
handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
handful mint leaves, finely chopped
1x lemon, zest and juice
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, plus extra to finish
flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
handful of pomegranate seeds
Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add cauliflower to the hot oil and saute until golden and tender. Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain, and sprinkle liberally with flaky sea salt. You will probably have to do this in two batches. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a small bowl mix together tahini, yoghurt, crushed garlic, parsley, mint, lemon juice and zest, and pomegranate molasses. Add sufficient water to thin to a smooth, pourable sauce - about the consistency of runny honey. Taste and add flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Arrange cauliflower in a bowl or serving platter, drizzle over the tahini sauce. Finish with an extra drizzle of pomegranate molasses, a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and a sprig of mint.
Delicious served warm or at room temperature.
If you would like to get to know Yotam Ottolenghi a little better, and to see what everyone has cooked up for our final feast together, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links ...
... or check out Jerusalem and Ottolenghi's other great titles available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK or Fishpond NZ.
I am also sharing this post at Tasting Jerusalem, a virtual cooking community exploring the vibrant flavors and cuisine of the Middle East through the lens of “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” by Ottolenghi and Tamimi published by Ten Speed Press. You can follow along and cook with us by subscribing to omgyummy.com, following the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter and Instagram, and liking our Facebook page.
And, because it would be rude not to, I'm sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the lovely, Michelle at Ms. enPlace, at Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads, and at Foodie Friday, hosted by Designs by Gollam.