By Freya Bellin
Cauliflower is a perfect salad vegetable, as it’s full of nooks and crannies that simply drink up the flavors in a dressing or sauce. This North African style spice mixture adds a warm, sweet element to the zesty lemon juice dressing. It sounds simple enough, but the flavor combinations are really unexpected. The salad is full of textural variety: tender-crisp cauliflower, soft red onions, and leafy parsley. The result is a light, fresh-tasting, complexly spiced salad that could be a lovely side dish alongside a sandwich or some well-seasoned beans, or even a pasta/grain topper. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
(Watch the video here.)
I’ve been making this pasta for a very long time, probably since the 1980s, since it’s derived from a Marcella Hazan recipe. It’s dead simple — one of the things that I love about it — and you can pre-cook the cauliflower a day ahead or so if you’d like. I usually do the whole thing at once: cook the cauliflower in water, scoop it out and then, later, cook the pasta in the same water. It’s already boiling, and you want the taste of the cauliflower anyway, so why not?
The cauliflower gets cooked more, in a skillet with toasted garlic, so don’t boil it to death; you do want it to be tender, though. And in the original Minimalist recipe, from 2000, I added the bread crumbs to the skillet along with the cauliflower, but since I usually add some pasta water to the skillet to keep the mixture saucy, the bread crumbs become soggy. Better, then, to stir the bread crumbs in at the very end. They should be very coarse, ideally homemade, and if they’re toasted in olive oil in a separate skillet before you toss them in, so much the better.
For a while now I’ve been cooking pasta recipes with less pasta and more sauce. That’s a very personal decision, I know, but you could easily make this dish with half a pound of pasta and two pounds of cauliflower, and it would be excellent.
(Read the recipe here.)
Recipe from How to Cook Everything.
Couscous with Cauliflower and Almonds
Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 20 minutes
When cauliflower is finely chopped and fried as in this recipe, its crumbly texture mimics cracked grains. I like this best with the nutty flavor of whole wheat couscous. Other grains you can use: bulgur.