Here, everyday ingredients are transformed into an elegant, unusual first course or side dish. The cauliflower is cut into thick "steaks," which makes for a nice presentation. But smaller or broken pieces will taste just as good.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole head cauliflower (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
- Sea salt
- Fresh juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
- Grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 2 medium onion, sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted, for garnish (see NOTE)
- 1/4 cup slivered or coarsely chopped pistachios, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use half of the oil to grease a rimmed baking sheet.
Discard the green leaves of the cauliflower, leaving the core intact. Cut the head into 4 equal, thick slices and lay them on the baking sheet. Turn to coat with the oil and season both sides lightly with salt. Roast for about 10 minutes or until the edges are crisp, then carefully turn the slices over and roast for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower slices are lightly browned.
While the cauliflower is in the oven, combine the lemon juice, the orange juice and most of the zest, all of the water and the tahini to form a well-blended sauce. (The remaining zest will be used as a garnish.)
Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; stir to coat, then cook for about 8 minutes, until softened and lightly colored.
Pour the citrus-tahini sauce over the onion mixture. Once the sauce starts to bubble at the edges, stir until smooth, slightly thickened and well combined. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Transfer the cauliflower to a serving platter. Spoon the sauce and onion evenly over the slices. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts, pistachios and reserved orange zest.
NOTE: Toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the skillet a few times so the nuts do not burn.
Adapted from "Modern Flavors of Arabia: Recipes and Memories From My Middle Eastern Kitchen," by Suzanne Husseini (Appetite by Random House, 2012).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.