Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spiced cauliflower with Egyptian dukkah


A few weeks ago I bought a beautiful head of organic cauliflower from the farmer's market. It was a hot summer day and I was going to make some creamy cauliflower spread with shallots, mayo and lots of lemon; And then have it slathered on fresh white bread with juicy ripe tomatoes, just the way my grandmother used to serve it when I was a child. I used to spend most of my summer vacation at my grandmother's. Back in the day when life wasn't crazy, when we could afford the luxury of loosing track of time without any repercussions and the 3 month long summer vacation seemed like an eternity. In a good way. Back then it was all about friends, games and the meals in between . Most mornings I woke up to the smell of savoury french toast and mint tea. After breakfast we went fishing at a nearby creek, then played hide-and-seek in the orchard. To get away from the scorching sun we took a nap. Every day, after lunch. No exceptions. Not just the children, but every living creature enjoyed some good old siesta time. It was dead quiet, except for one pesky fly that always found its way into my cool, shady room.
Very annoying at first, I must say. But after a while It became indispensable for my afternoon nap. Sort of like an odd lullaby.
By the time I woke up my afternoon snack was ready. It was usually this creamy cauliflower spread, with just picked juicy tomatoes, or vanilla custard with poached meringue, caramel pudding or ice cold lemony apple compote.
Those days are long gone but as vivid in my memory as ever. I try to make the above mentioned goodies as often as a can. Every summer. It was one of these hot, kinda quiet days a few weeks ago when I decided to buy some cauliflower. I wasn't able to prepare it the same day, and as luck would have it, the weather cooled down so drastically the next day, that it felt more like October than June. So I decided to forgo my previous plans and go for a more weather appropriate, hearty cauliflower dish instead.

Spiced Cauliflower with Egyptian Dukkah

Dukkah is a delicious mix of nuts, seeds and spices. My version has almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts with coriander, sesame and cumin seeds, but feel free to use any type of nuts you may have on hand.

For the Dukkah:

Preheat oven to 375F. Roast 1/4 cup each of blanched almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts until fragranat, about 8 minutes. Cool. In a skillet toast 1/4 cup each of coriander and cumin seeds. Cool. Add nuts and spices to a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Add mixture to a bowl. In same skillet toast 1/4 cup of sesame seeds until fragrant. Add sesame seeds along with some salt and pepper to mixture in bowl. Store in an airtight container.
Dukkah is also lovely sprinkled on top of salads, carrot soup, spicy tomato soup or used as coating on fish or chicken.

For the spiced cauliflower:

1 large head of cauliflower, cleaned, cut into small florets
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 red chili, seeded, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup of bread crumbs
Thick yogurt and lemon juice to serve

Cook cauliflower in salted boiling water just until crisp-tender.( It will have an unpleasant smell and texture if overcooked).
Drain well. In a large skillet heat the olive oil, add chili, lemon zest and bread crumbs. Cook until toasted and fragrant. Add cauliflower and stir to coat. Sprinkle a generous amount of Dukkah on top and serve warm with thick yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Oh, and special message for ZS. Long live all hockey players!!!


Ash said...

This looks very interesting! I think I need to give it a try!
...oh how I miss those days when time was nothing and only fun and games existed!

Danielle said...

holy moly! That looks incredible! Great photo too!

Snooky doodle said...

Nice recipe! Looks delicious. I LL TRY IT :)

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Ooooh Cherie...that's a gorgeous take on cawlifower. I've never heard of Dukkah but I love the sound of the flavours. The picture's singing to me!! YUM!!

CookiePie said...

I loved this post, so evocative. I could almost picture your lovely grandmother, and little you napping on a hot summer afternoon. Plus, I love cauliflower, and that recipe looks great! Thanks for sharing.

Aember said...

What a lovely and evocative memory! Thanks for sharing! And the lovely pics & recipe too!

Louise said...

That looks delicious, I love cauliflour but tend to not find much to do with it. I'll be sure to try this out!

kathryn said...

What a lovely idea, especially with the yoghurt. I particularly like the idea of the contrasting textures - the smoothness of the yoghurt, crunch of the breadcrumbs and softness of the cooked cauliflower. I shall have to try this very soon.

Chef Fresco said...

Yum! I've never heard of dukkah, but looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Sounds fantastic, I'll be trying this out for tomorrow night's dinner - I am also intrigued by your description of cauliflower spread, I have never heard of such a thing before

Anonymous said...

Great combo! I love dukkah!