Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za’atar

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableOne of the few benefits of globalisation is the exposure and the availability we now have to a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. In England, garlic, which was once regarded as foreign muck is now as ubiquitous as the humble spud. Blood oranges, native to Italy are now cultivated and eagerly anticipated worldwide. When we moved to Canada in the mid ’70’s coriander leaves were scarce and an exotic luxury – my mother would use them parsimoniously out of necessity. Today, sheaves of them can be bought in the grocery stores. It is easier than ever to eat a huge variety of fruits and vegetables which has so many knock on benefits.

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableI can’t remember when I first saw my first romanesco broccoli (aka romanesque cauliflower) but it was a stunningly beautiful if strange, otherworldly looking vegetable that once brought home, I could not bear to destroy by cooking! Cultivated in Italy since the 15th/16th century, this is another vegetable that is now easily available to us. It has a the nutty, buttery flavour of the more familiar broccoli and cauliflower but without the bitter edge that cauliflower can sometimes have and is much preferred by children for that very reason.  I love the florets in a cauliflower cheese, or pureed to go with a roast or roasted themselves, but these cute little cakes another way to have them that doesn’t take long and can also be assembled ahead of time if necessary. The feta gives them a salty creamy kick and the za’atar picks out the lemony flavours. A hint of earthy, aromatic rosemary pulls it all together.

After steaming the florets, just mix the ingredients together, shape into little patties and bake – what could be easier?

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar | Selma's TableI am sharing these with those die-hard party goers at Fiesta Friday, hosted by the talented Angie of The Novice Gardener. This week we have  Suzanne @apuginthekitchen and Sue @birgerbird to thank, as our co-hosts. Both are fantastic cooks and have a wealth of recipes on their sites – do go over and take a look.

If you blog, please do join in, reading the the guidelines first to get you going.

R e a d e r   G i v e a w a y!

Ruby Chard, Shitake Mushroom & Chestnut Tart | Selma's TableWin a copy of FIVE by Rachel de Thample!

Ever since my son, Jake, began weaning, I have instinctively incorporated more fruits and vegetables into our diet. I always make sure to include at least three fruits/vegetables at meals – usually more if I can. For instance yesterday we had a stir fry of shredded white cabbage, cavalo nero, ruby chard, kale tops, leeks and red onion with some salmon. This is why Rachel de Thample latest recipe book called FIVE which I reviewed last week, appeals so much to me. it shows you how easy it is to eat well and deliciously.  It is full of varied, accessible and delicious recipes that will have you packing away fruits and vegetables without any effort at all. There is a very useful double page spread listing fruits and vegetables and their portion sizes and the recipes clearly state how many portions are in each recipe. And the recipes! There isn’t a single one which I wouldn’t make – from creative breakfast truffles and clever muffins to galettes, latkes, stunning salads, hearty soups, curries, pastries, cakes, puddings, sorbets – and I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader!

All you have to do is follow this blog via email (if you don’t already) and leave a comment below telling me what one of your favourite vegetable dishes is – one of my favourites is  griddled courgette/zuchinni slices, tossed with basil or mint, lemon zest, olive oil, parmesan and toasted almond slivers – so delicious!

Now on to the recipe –

Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za'atar

  • Servings: makes about 9 small cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small romanesco cauliflower ( approx. 175 g prepared weight) or substitute broccoli or cauliflower
  • 75 g feta cheese
  • 20 g panko or bread crumbs
  • zest of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary needles
  • ½ tsp vegetable bouillon powder or a good pinch of salt (remembering that the feta is salty)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp za’atar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp fine semolina

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
  2. Break up the romanesco into fairly small florets and steam for about 8 minutes. A knife should be able to pierce them easily but they should not disintegrate. Allow to cool a little.
  3. In the meantime, crumble or chop the feta in small cubes,
  4. When the romanesco is cool enough to handle, mix in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Taking walnut sized pieces of the mix, squeeze and shape into balls. Wetting your hands makes them easier to shape.
  6. Lightly oil a baking tray and place the balls on the tray, Flatten them slightly and then drizzle over a little oil. Dust with semolina, Turn over and repeat.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tinged with gold.
  8. Serve warm with a dollop of lemony creme fraiche or greek yoghurt.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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74 thoughts on “Romanesco and Feta Cakes with Za’atar

  1. Unfortunately, my part of the US hasn’t been very globalized yet, so Ive never seen this where I live. But these would be great with a combination of broccoli and cauliflower, don’t you think? Love the addition of feta!!!

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    • Thanks Mimi! These would be just as good with broccoli and cauliflower – where do you live? the US is so vast in terms of size that I guess it would be impossible to get everything everywhere, though these are grown there.

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  2. Well here they are, the fritters I saw on IG and have been waiting for! So interesting that you used feta, I imagine it gives the fritters such a nice tart savory flavour. The romanesco is just beautiful and I agree with you, it’s hard to not just admire it rather than cut it up and eat it! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll for sure be trying it soon. I love fritters!

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  3. I love the way these cauliflowers look- right out of a fairy tale! Always have them as crudité but will try these cakes Selma! I am so glad the best of the world’s produce is being shared globally too:))) happy Valentine’s weekend!

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    • They really do look magical – they remind me a little of seashells – just incredible to think that something edible grows like this with no help from Monsato! Happy Valentine’s to you too, Johanne and have a great Fiesta Friday too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this recipe, Selma… :) It sounds just like something I’d order at a restaurant. I love the lemon in it, you can never go wrong with lemon. :) And the feta would make it perfect.
    I’m so glad to be able to try all those different kinds of vegetables and fruits from all around the world as well.
    My Mum makes this casserole with potatoes, tomatoes and cauliflower with a bit of cream and cheese on top. I have always loved that and so has my brother, even when we were really young. You know my Mum used to be a healthy eating addict. So we had vegetables all the time. But this dish didn’t feel like it, it was my favorite dish growing up. Far ahead of any pasta dish. :) Well, today I love pasta just as much :D

    Happy FF to you… :*

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  5. Romanesco is the best variety of broccoli/cauliflower for me. As you said I have hard time to find it in Montreal, but when I was in Italy for Christmans I asked my mum to prepare it at least twice a week… We use often for making a creamy sauce to season pasta, never thought to use it for cakes like yours! Thanks a lot for sharing Selma!

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    • Creamy sauce for pasta sounds perfect, Margy – considering that Montreal is such a foodies paradise (well I think so – we had amazing food when we visited a few years ago) I am surprised that there is no romanesco – dommage x

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  6. Of course, you already knew I would love this recipe! It looks gorgoeus! And that photo of the whole cauliflower is absolutely beautiful, such fabulous light on such an amazing looking vegetable 😍😍 all fabulous, superstar Selma x x

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  7. I have worked for many years in the world’s largest container shipping company, Selma and now see the world as a continuous supply chain with enormous amounts of goods constantly on the move from one part of the world to another :) It is truly amazing how easily we can find ingredients from another continent on our store-shelves, isn’t it! The romanesco broccoli is a thing of beauty indeed and I really love these lovely, flavorful cakes you’ve made with them! My favorite veggie dish is Lauki kofta curry, balls of grated, spiced bottle gourd baked & cooked in a tomato gravy :) Haven’t managed to find bottle gourd here yet :(

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  8. How gorgeous is that Romanesco broccoli Selma!! And you’ve done an amazing job with those gorgeous cakes with all the wonderful spices and feta. It looks real healthy and a meal in itself. I too love to add at least 2 veggies to every meal and cut out the starch, but hubby does love his potatoes and rice, but I try to stay away if and when I can. I love all vegetables really, probably Fall is the best time, as there are so many different squashes to choose from too. The book looks awesome, I’m not sure Ive heard of Rachel, but the cover does look great! I don’t know if I’d be considered from across the pond, but if so, would love you to put my name in your hat :)

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  9. I remember when I first got romanesco – it was in my veg box in London and thankfully there was also a recipe for a really nice, warm salad that I made. But these look delicious! I will have to see if I can hunt down any here or adapt to try them

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    • I think that veg boxes are a brilliant way to introduce new vegetables into our diets – it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of buying the same vegetables week after week otherwise. And it’s also a chance to try things that you don’t normally find in the shops too. My box this week included the most beautiful purple and green cabbage – it’s another one that is too gorgeous to eat!

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  10. Qué buenos deben de estar los pasteles Selma. Me encanta la mezcla con el queso.
    Qué casualidad que hasta hace poco no había probado el Romanesco y, ahora, las dos decidimos presentar una receta de esa verdura para la Fiesta Friday. Cocinaré tu receta dentro de poco. Gracias por la idea.

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  12. Like you I have seen the grocery stores transformed so as to be barely recognizable from the markets from when I first began cooking. I love to try new things and have still not found a fruit or vegetable I didn’t like. I will certainly keep an eye out for this beautiful romanesco cauliflower. But when it comes to favourites I can’t help but think of the winter vegetables we had when I was a child, especially butternut squash. Roasted in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of za’atar would have to be my first pick.

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    • Hilda, that sounds delicious! In fact I have a small butternut squash which is awaiting it’s fate…hmmm!! It’s amazing how the supermarkets have changed so much – we used to shop in Safeway until those Superstores arrived, all guns blazing with practically anything you desired in them! Thanks for your comment – I have entered you into the draw!

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  13. Love these Selms, isn’t Romanesque broccoli the most beautiful thing ever, you called it other worldly and that is the perfect description. The fritters are wonderful and feta is my favorite cheese, Delicious and thank you for bringing to the fiesta.

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  14. I have never cooked with zaatar. I will try to get hold of the spice. But I am not sure I can manage to find romanesco broccoli. Do you think this recipe will still work with the regular broccoli or cauliflower. Though I am sure it will never be the same.

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  15. I have never seen romanesco before, what an interesting looking vegetable. Your recipe sounds delicious. I need to incorporate more veggies in our diet too, especially for the kids, thanks for sharing your recipe.

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  16. I remember the first time I saw romanesco. I thought it was the most trippy looking vegetable ever! Love the recipe. I’ve had something similar on my brain since eating little dill and halloumi fritters in a Turkish restaurant a couple of weeks ago. But I like that these are baked. And that stir fry is right up my street, I’d be asking for seconds ;)

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    • Hello lovely! It’s the kind of thing you don’t want to be staring at if you are tripping!! The dill and halloumi fritters sound fabulous and I much prefer baking when I am at home – happy to eat fried food when i’m out though…The stir fry was basically using up all the bits that were left over from the veg box – felt very virtuous x

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  17. Thanks a million for this wonderful idea, Selma! I bought some romanesco for the first time, a few months back and wasn’t too sure what to do with it. We just ate it steamed and it was delicious! I am certainly going to try your recipe!
    I have so many favourite veggie recipes, but one that really jumps to my mind is ratatouille. There is nothing better on a cool winter evening.

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    • I found myself craving a cauliflower cheese as it was steaming – it just smelled divine and is perfect to eat steamed as it is quite buttery and sweet. Love ratatouille – it’s so versatile too. I’ve entered your name into the draw!

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  18. Your pictures of the romanesco are gorgeous! I am sure that we would love these cakes. I will have to see if we have this veggie available. If not, I will be definitely be making it with broccoli. Thank you for introducing us to a veggie that isn’t that well known. I love trying new things.

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  19. I love romanesco broccoli and your romanesco and feta cakes look mouthwatering!
    The cookbook looks delicious and like you I love vegetables, the more the better! Favourite vegetable, that is so difficult but there is always room for some butternut squash :)

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  20. I’ve never had romanesco broccoli before but it looks so fascinating. I love its geometrical shape, and of course your’e cakes look absolutely divine. Thanks for bringing them to Fiesta Friday! :)

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    • Yes, it would be easy to convert to GF. If you give it a go, let me know. Normally I use cold mashed potato to bind but we are on a low carb regime at the moment. And I could murder a portion of chippy chips right now!!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. What a lovely kitchen! Simple yet grand at the same time! I wish I could physically visit that kitchen. I would have hated myself if I had missed this post of yours! What a lovely write-up! You do have a way with words! Loretta is right! You should think of writing a book!
    As for the Chermoula Aubergines, they look so temptingly delicious! I have never heard of Chermoula spice before but it sounds easy enough. I hope Elaine will share the recipe with all of us! The Aubergine recipe is simple and easy to do. We make something similar with the Japanese eggplant. I mix the slices with cumin, coriander powder, pepper, red chilli powder, dry mango powder and salt and pan fry it.
    Love your pictures.

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