Thursday, December 12, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower with Yogurt Sauce

Oh Zahav, let me count the ways I love you. My favorite Philadelphia Israeli eatery1 makes this incredibly easy dish that works well as an appetizer or as a side dish. This is unlike any other cauliflower dish you've ever had. The majority of the time people eat cauliflower, it's either raw and flavorless (of course with some ranch), frozen and mushy (similar to the goo from Ghostbusters 2), or boiled and obliterated. The thing is though, when roasted or fried, cauliflower develops these rich dark flavors. You get this beautiful brown exterior as the florets start to curl and the stalks start to caramelize; it actually maintains its texture and actually starts to taste good as the roasting adds so much flavor. Many people describe cauliflower as bland but it can be so much more than boiled and served with a combination of crinkle-cut carrots and broccoli florets. Just as Nate said in his b-sprout recipe2, cauliflower gets a bum wrap because everyone has simply been cooking it wrong for so long. At Zahav, they deep fry the cauliflower to get it brown and crispy on the outside. While frying is delicious, I think it's far easier to just bake in the oven. Don't get it twisted, the result is not the same but its pretty damn close. Using a dark baking sheet will help with the color - taking it from Casper to Snooki.

While the crispy, salty, golden cauliflower is the star of the show, the yogurt sauce is essential. It brings a needed acidity that cuts the richness of the cauliflower. All of the fresh herbs bring this burst of freshness that brightens the whole dish.

Roasted Cauliflower with Yogurt Sauce

Adapted from Zahav's recipe.
Qty Ingredient Procedure
1 head cauliflower
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 400°F.
  2. While the oven is preheating, start breaking down the cauliflower.
  3. Toss your cauliflower with olive oil and lay out on a single layer on a baking sheet. Leave space between the florets; you want to promote browning by leaving space between each piece. Generously season with kosher salt.
  4. Roast the cauliflower for approximately 25-30 minutes until nicely browned.
olive oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
  1. While the cauliflower is baking, chop all of your fresh herbs and garlic. You want to chop this pretty fine so you don't get one big bite of any single herb or worse, large chunk of raw garlic.
  2. To make the dipping sauce simply combine the herbs, garlic, lemon juice, and yogurt. Season with salt as needed.
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh chives
1 tbsp fresh mint
1 tbsp fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp dried dill

When breaking down your cauliflower, You want the florets to all be approximately the same size for even cooking. I like to make mine smaller so they get even crunchier. Do not waste the stalk; it tastes amazing and when cut thin - makes for an excellent cauliflower chip.

The dipping sauce and be made well ahead of time and benefits from time in the fridge; it helps the flavors come together into one cohesive dip.

  1. Totally not specific. 
  2. If I ever start a food based rap career, B-Sprout would be my alias. 
  3. This recipe makes enough sauce to easily go with three heads of cauliflower so go ahead, go nuts, go apeshit. 

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