Without a doubt the humble cauliflower had a huge year in 2015 and we all learnt how to do much more than just boil or steam it. Cauliflower rice and mash were commonly seen in recipes as low carb alternatives to potatoes and it even made its way into pizza bases. With this recipe I want to show you how to make a whole roasted cauliflower. The cauliflower was in such demand that prices were seen to dramatically increase in the US when a cold snap in California and Arizona meant that production could not keep up with demand. Not bad for a vegetable which has played second fiddle to broccoli for years. It has even been declared as the new kale; now that is a hefty title to live up to.
I personally love cauliflower. I think it is extremely versatile and its gentle and neutral flavour makes it the perfect side dish. It also makes it a great vegetable to add flavourings to; whether it is adding spices or cooking in a sauce it takes on additional flavourings perfectly. A whole roasted cauliflower is a great option and it will really take on board all those flavourings. Plus you don’t have to deal with any of the mess of cutting it into pieces.
I wanted to marinade the cauliflower to make it vibrant and colourful and this chermoula sauce is the perfect match. Used commonly in African cooking, chermoula is a mix of herbs, spices, olive oil and lemon juice. There are several variations to chermoula recipes but the emphasis is always on the herb and spice mixture. Some people choose to cook the spices first but others, like myself, just add them to the mix as they are.
The chermoula sauce takes just minutes to make in the blender and can be used for meat and fish dishes as well as to flavour vegetables. It would make a great base for a chicken and vegetable casserole. I kept some sauce back from the marinade and used this to serve as a dressing with the cauliflower.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower…
The inspiration for this dish came from the idea that the cauliflower could be the star of the show. I wanted to have a whole roasted cauliflower served in the middle of the table as the centerpiece of a meal. It lends itself perfectly to baking in the oven and a medium cauliflower takes just 40 minutes to cook through. You can cut it up and eat by the slice or break up into florets and mix into a salad. It would work really well with some spinach and butternut squash; you could even add in a couple of chopped medjool dates to really compliment the African spices.
Servings: 4 people
- 1 head cauliflower, medium
- For the Chermoula:
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- 150ml lemon juice (about 2.5 lemons squeezed)
- 2 red onions, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 red chillies, roughly chopped
- ½ bunch coriander
- ½ bunch parsley
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Place the chermoula ingredients into a food processor and blend together You are looking for there to still be some bite in the mixture but no big chunks.
- Prepare the cauliflower by removing all the outer leaves and placing into a casserole dish.
- Pour enough of the chermoula mixture over the cauliflower so that it is nicely covered.
- Place into the oven for 40 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven, slice and serve with the remainder of the chermoula sauce.
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