When chef Haidar Karoum was growing up, this was a favorite dish his father would make. Now it's a bestseller on his menu at Proof restaurant in the District. Room 11 restaurant, also in the District, serves a similar dish, but with roasted instead of deep-fried cauliflower.
Make Ahead: The tahini sauce can be made a week in advance.
- For the sauce
- 1 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Dash hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- For the cauliflower
- 4 cups canola oil, for frying
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets (4 cups)
- Kosher salt
- Leaves from 1/2 small bunch mint, minced
For the sauce: Combine the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, salt and hot sauce in a food processor or blender; puree until smooth.
For the cauliflower: Line a baking sheet with paper towels, then place a wire cooling rack over it.
Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Working in batches as needed, carefully add the florets and fry for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the florets to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season them with salt while still hot.
Transfer to a serving bowl; garnish with the mint. Serve with tahini sauce on the side.
From Washington food writer David Hagedorn, co-author with chef Cathal Armstrong of "My Irish Table: Recipes From the Homeland and Restaurant Eve" (Ten Speed Press, March 2014).
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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