Thursday, June 17, 2010

Warm Cauliflower Salad

I've never understood why cauliflower and cheese, macaroni and cheese, rice pudding or baked custard are so often referred to as nursery food. My children loathe and detest anything with a creamy sauce; they'd prefer to relinquish the chance of dessert than to have even an exploratory nibble. From time to time I long for a cheesy bubbly dish with a crusty golden layer on top; alas, it is not to be – at least for now.

So this week, with a cauliflower in the box, I had to think of something else. I flipped through my recipe books, and came up with this. Miss Six gave it an 7 out of 10, which meant she ate a large piece without comment; Miss Four, who is passionate about dukkah, gave it a 3 out of 10, which meant she licked the dukkah off and accidentally ate some cauliflower; but, just like Goldilocks with Little Bear's porridge, I ate mine all up and looked for more.

Dukkah is a mixture of ground seeds, nuts and spices. There are many different mixes available. Our favourite is Paddymelon's Wartaka Dukkah, which includes lemon myrtle, aniseed myrtle and other Australian herbs. It has a lovely fresh flavour; however, any dukkah, perhaps one fragrant with cumin, would also work well. You can find out more about dukkah and order it here.

Warm Cauliflower Salad

- 1 head cauliflower, broken into large florets
- ½ bunch coriander, washed and the leaves taken off the stems
- 1 can chickpeas, or some Victorian chickpeas soaked and cooked, optional (why aren't Australian pulses canned?!)
- 1 juicy lemon
- a good extra virgin olive oil
- dukkah

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Drop the cauliflower florets in and simmer with the lid off for 7 or 8 minutes, or until a knife blade slips into the stem easily but before the florets are mush.

While it is cooking, warm the chickpeas.

Drain the cauliflower and place onto a platter. Spoon the chickpeas around the florets, then drizzle with olive oil and lots of lemon juice. Sprinkle 2 or 3 teaspoons of dukkah over the top – enough so every floret is lightly dusted. Scatter the coriander leaves over the top, and serve at once.

Developed from a suggestion by Nigel Slater in The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen.

(Local: cauliflower, coriander, lemon, olive oil. Made locally from imported ingredients: dukkah. Imported: chick peas, although you could use Victorian chickpeas.)

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