Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Cauliflower is a vegetable that is particularly handy in the winter. It purees smoothly in soups (handy to face the polar cold that seems to have taken over), and the florets can be easily added to a variety of dishes, or grated into rice. In this salad, roasting the cauliflower makes it nutty and buttery, and caramelizes the edges for depth of flavor.
I have written before of its multiple health benefits (see here), and to boot it is low calorie. The salad was inspired by a roasted cauliflower salad from Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem” (an AMAZING cookbook). It is easy, quick and healthy, and the cauliflower takes well to the herbs and sweetness of the pomegranate seeds. This can be eaten as a light main, and would also go great with grilled fish.
1 cauliflower head, outer leaves removed, broken into even sized florets
4 celery stalks, sliced on a diagonal into 1" inch pieces
seeds from 1/2 pomegranate (see note)
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1 serrano pepper, minced (seeds removed if sensitive to heat)
handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced (~⅓ cup)
zest from 1 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 2 tbsp more
freshly ground pepper
tahini paste (generous)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Toss cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and salt (about ½ teaspoon), and place florets in a single layer on baking sheet. Toss celery slices with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt, and place in a single layer on separate baking sheet.
Place into warmed oven and roast, turning vegetables over about halfway, watching for each baking sheet as they will cook at different speeds. Remove celery stalk from oven when they are soft (15-25 min), transfer to a bowl. Place hazelnuts on the same sheet and pop into the oven to toast for 3 minutes, tossing halfway.
Roast cauliflower florets, until cauliflower is caramelized and lightly browned (~30 min). Arrange celery and cauliflower in bowls, season with freshly ground pepper pepper. Top with sliced fresh basil leaves, grated lemon zest, pomegranate seeds, minced Serrano peppers and toasted hazelnuts. Add a generous dollop of tahini to each bowl. Serve warm!
Serves 2 to 4
Pomegranate Note: To remove pomegranate seeds from fruit, cut fruit in half crosswise (rather than from the stem end). Hold one pomegranate half over a large bowl, cut side down, and smack the fruit with the back of a large wooden spoon. Use some muscle (and mind your hands!): a few good whacks should release all seeds. Repeat with remaining pomegranate half. Discard any bitter, spongy white membranes. If some membrane still clings to the seeds, rinse them in cold water.