This month I’ve been particularly enjoying cooking with cauliflower, it’s meaty in texture and really versatile. Back in July whilst on my River Cottage veg course I made some pan fried muergez cauliflower that I absolutely loved, but since then I’ve somewhat neglected this tasty veg in favour of pumpkins, squash and courgettes. However, I’ve been loving roasted cauliflower with warm spices like ras el hanout, cauliflower carmelises wonderfully and is delicious in salads and curries. This salad recipe is great both hot and cold, I’ve been taking it for my lunch and it lasts really well in the fridge.
1 cauliflower plus the leaves
1 tablespoon ras el hanout
250g cous cous
1 red onion
a handful of fresh parsley
a handful of fresh coriander
the seeds of 1 pomegranate
the juice of 2 lemons
a good glug of cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of sumac
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Slice the leaves off the cauliflower and then slice into 3cm strips then spread on a baking tray. Break the cauliflower into florets and spread on a separate baking tray. Season both parts of the cauliflower with salt and pepper and toss in the olive oil. sprinkle over the ras el hanout and toss to cover the veg. Roast for 30 minutes until the cauliflower has caught slightly and is nice and tender. The leaves may need to come out sooner, you’re looking for the middles to be tender but the leaves not to be too crispy.
While your cauliflower is in the oven, you can cook the cous cous and prep the rest of the ingredients. Put the cous cous into a bowl and cover with 250ml boiling water. Put a plate over the bowl and leave to steam for 5 minutes. Remove the plate and use a fork to run along the surface of the cous cous, using a medium pressure, to scrape off layers. This makes the grains nice and separated and fluffy.
Finely chop the red onion, coriander and parsley and add to the cous cous. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate and add to the salad.
Once the cauliflower has cooked, leave to cool for a few minutes, then add to the salad.
To make the dressing, mix the extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and sumac together with a fork. Season to taste, adding more lemon, vinegar or oil where you see fit. You want the dressing to nicely cover the salad without making it too wet.
Add the dressing to the salad, then serve! This does 4-5 servings as a lunch, so I keep mine in a big bowl in the fridge to eat throughout the week. Alternatively, you could serve it as a side dish for 5-6 people with some grilled halloumi or as part of a tasty mezze.