As the majority of the meals I cook are to be eaten by young children I keep the food relatively basic. Not too spicy and quite homely. But my taste buds cry out for a hit of flavour from time to time so if time permits I will make something to have on the side that is packed with flavour and spices for the adults. This is one such dish. Not a ‘hot’ spicy dish, just packed with a good punch of flavours and textures which wakes me up.
Cauliflower seems to be a very under-appreciated vegetable. I love it in soups and gratins but my favourite way is to toss florets in olive oil, spices and salt then roast until crispy. You can eat them just like that straight off the baking tray. Delicious. But to take it up to the next level I find the combination of toasted bread crumbs, parsley, red onion, feta, pinenuts and currants make this a dish to stay home for.
I love this recipe which has evolved over several trials and I think it has reached it’s pinnacle and no longer needs improvement, although I do wonder if I should include garlic in some way. I can’t express how completely yummy I think this salad is. It would be very happy to be served alongside lamb – cutlets, chops, koftas or a roast. Or you could have this with a couple of other salads as part of a vegetarian feast.
spiced roast cauliflower salad
1 small cauliflower (or a large half of a cauliflower) cut into bite-sized florets
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of bread ripped up into rough chunks
a good pinch of dried chilli flakes
1/4 cup pinenuts
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
half a red onion, finely sliced
zest of a lemon plus a little of the juice
2 tablespoons currants, soaked in a little white wine vinegar and water for 10 minutes then drained
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays.
Gently fry the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry pan for a minute then grind in a mortar and pestle. Toss the cauliflower florets with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ground spices and salt. Spread out on one of the baking trays and roast for 25 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and a little crispy.
Toss the breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, chilli flakes and pinenuts. Spread out on the other lined baking tray and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes. Keep a close eye on it though so it doesn’t go too brown and toss it at the halfway mark.
Pick the parsley leaves and place in a bowl alongwith the sliced red onion, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and squeeze over a little lemon juice to taste. Season and toss.
Pile up the roasted cauliflower, toasted breadcrumbs and pinenuts and mix through some of the parsley salad. Arrange the remaining parsley salad on top and sprinkle over the currants and crumble over the feta.