Part of the beauty of cauliflower lies in its mild, mellow flavor. Adaptable and unobstrusive, it’s a blank slate ready to be dressed up how you please. Grated and stir-fried, it approximates fried rice; steamed, mashed, and lashed with butter, it’s a superb stand-in for mashed potatoes; roasted whole and basted with olive oil, it’s centerpiece-worthy. Similarly, it takes to a wide range of seasonings. Here, I’ve gone a more traditional route, preparation wise. Florets are tossed with warm, aromatic spices (cinnamon and hot paprika), then roasted hot and fast. Decked out with toasted almonds, a blizzard of parsley, and an addictive tahini-based sauce, it is shockingly good, especially when paired with some juicy lamb chops, as pictured here.
Sourced from one of my favorite cookbooks of spring 2017, Dishing Up the Dirt, by Andrea Bemis, this dish sits alongside other inspired produce-driven recipes. Some other recipes I’m eager to try include: collard green slaw with bacon gremolata, miso- and honey-glazed radishes, grilled romaine with dijon-tahini dressing and fried capers, and honey and cardamom whipped sweet potatoes. (I could go on and on.) I strongly suggest you pick up a copy if you’re looking for new, exciting ways to cook from your farmers market haul or CSA box.
- 1 large head of cauliflower, broken into florets
- 2 tablespoons neutral, high-heat oil, such as rice bran or melted refined coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- For the honey tahini sauce:
- 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425°F with a half-sheet pan inside the oven.
- Toss the cauliflower with the oil, spices, and salt. Pull out the half-sheet pan and spread the cauliflower out on it in an even layer. (Preheating the pan accelerates browning the cauliflower.) Roast until it is crisp and deeply-browned on one side, and tender throughout, about 25 minutes.
- While the cauliflower roasts, make the sauce: Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and 2 tablespoons water to a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt.
- To serve: Drizzle the sauce over the cauliflower and top with almonds and parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.