This recipe caught my eye the other day and I have been desperate to try it – there are still lots of gleaming white cauliflowers around as well as large glossy, ruby pomegranates too so I determined to pick both up, sooner rather than later. I was intrigued by the ‘spicing’. It’s almost Christmasy, warm, with maple syrup, allspice and cinnamon but with the fresh flavours of sweet, slightly tart pomegranate arils (seeds), crunchy celery and grassy parsley, perfectly complemented by the roasted hazelnuts. I made it for an impromptu lunch yesterday and two teenagers gave it a huge thumbs up. It’s a lovely way to eat cauliflower and would be a stunning addition to the Easter table.
This really is a fabulous recipe book, full of gorgeous flavours and so much history too. Yotam Ottolenghi also writes for the Guardian at the weekend so you can catch up with his cooking there and be amazed at some of the vitriol in the comments section – I hope he doesn’t read them – from people who are sitting on their backsides contributing nothing at all to society…
Pomegranates are an ancient fruit most likely originating from Persia – modern day Iran. Also mentioned in Babylonian texts, The Book of Exodus, The Q’ran and the Homeric Hymns, their history is quite amazing – do click on the link which will take you to the Wikipedia page, if you want to know more. Incredible that one was found in the tomb of the butler to Queen Hatsheput – makes one feel quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things!
Notoriously fiddly to extract, the arils can range from sweet to sour so do taste yours to see if you need to adjust the dressing. The best way to extract the arils is to cut a fruit in half then in half again. Bend backwards slightly, to loosen then, place skin side up in a high sided bowl and paddle (whack) the leathery skin with the back of a wooden spoon. The juice does get everywhere so don’t wear white like I did! Their pith is really bitter so do pick out any stray bits that may jettison with the arils.
Strip the leaves off the cauliflower, saving the best ones for the veggie-soup-making bag in your freezer – I know you have one! Insert the point of a sturdy knife into the edge of the core at the bottom and carefully tunnel out as much of the core as you can. The florets are easy to break off then. Cut any really large ones in half and spread onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and tumble them around to coat with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for about half an hour ’til golden and crispy in places – I turned them halfway through.
Make the dressing while the florets are roasting – I added a little pomegranate syrup for a sharper flavour. Extract the pomegranate seeds and chop the celery and parsley. If you soak the chopped celery in a little bowl of cold water they will become super crispy – a trick I learned from my mum! When the florets are done, turn the heat down and pop the nuts in to roast. Once the nuts are done and cool enough to handle, chop coarsely then assemble and dress the salad.
I am taking this delicious, healthy salad over to the Savouring Saturdays Linky Party – hosted by
Take a look to see the fabulous recipes on offer!
Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad
Adapted slightly from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi
- 1 head of cauliflower broken up into small florets about 660g (mine was about 800g)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil (separated)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 sticks of celery cut on an an into ½ cm slices about 70g
- 30g hazelnuts with skins (I also used a few walnuts)
- 10g small flat-leaf parsley – leaves only
- 50g pomegranate seeds (about half a medium pomegranate)
- ⅓ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅓ tsp allspice
- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp of pomegranate syrup)
- 1 ½ tsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 220C/425F
- Slice any really large florets in half and place on a baking tray. Drizzle over 3 Tbsp of oil over them and season with salt and pepper. Toss them about to coat in the oil, then spread out in an even layer and roast for 25 – 35 minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp and golden brown. I turned them over after 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl or plate to cool down.
- While the florets are roasting, make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
- Chop the celery on the diagonal and very coarsely chop the parsley.
- Turn the heat down to 170C/325F . Spread the nuts onto a baking tray and roast for about 10 to 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, rub off any loose skins and chop coarsely.
- In a large bowl, gently mix together the cauliflower, celery, parsley and nuts. Turn onto a serving plate, drizzle with the dressing and scatter over the pomegranate seeds.
- Serve at room temperature.