This is a recipe contributed by Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi. Find her blog at StephanieZubiri.com
Whenever I’m in Paris contrary to what most people instinctively do which is eat foie gras, beautiful cheese and all kinds of French bistro beauty, I like to explore all the little holes in the wall of ethnic cuisine. Chef Aaron Isip is a good friend of mine and my eternal foodie tour guide. He is also my favorite eating partner coming only second to my husband.
This guy knows his stuff – from fancy degustacions to the best Bo Bun in town. He’ll eat anything as long as it’s incredible. That time he took me to Miznon. A small Israeli café in the old Jewish quarter, right off the touristy Rue des Rosiers. I loved the young hipster vibe, their generously filled pitas and the wonderful grit of an old building. I’ll never forget when I first them bring this gorgeous pieces of roasted cauliflower to the counter. The burnt edges, the fragrant olive oil, the glittering crystals of sea salt – it was just oh so inviting. I went at it with a fork and knife and my friend stopped me – “No, eat it like this.” He took a spoon and scooped up a generous portion of the charred cauliflower then ceremoniously dipped it into a mixture of olive oil, tahini, chopped tomatoes and fresh green chilies… He then passed the spoon to me, which I gingerly tried to maneuver to my mouth so as not to lose any of the delightful things precariously perched on it and boom. It was like falling in love.
Here’s my attempt at recreating that moment for eternity.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini
1 cauliflower head
extra virgin olive oil for cooking
extra virgin olive oil of good quality for finishing
2 tbsp tahini paste
parsley for garnish
1 tomato cut into small cubes for garnish
1 green finger chili finely chopped and marinated in olive oil and salt (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 200* Celsius on a roast or grill setting. Cut the stem and clean the entire cauliflower head. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Blanch the cauliflower for about 5 minutes. Remove and pat dry. Place the head of cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes or until completely tender. Depending on the size of the cauliflower head this could take up to an hour. You can test tenderness by inserting a small knife in the middle through the bottom of the cauliflower head. Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the tahini paste with 1-2 teaspoons of cold water and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well and allow the tahini paste to thin out a bit so you can pour it over but to still have a thick syrup like creamy texture. To plate, place the cauliflower on a serving plate, drizzle with more olive oil – preferably the best quality you can find, add a smattering of sea salt flakes then drizzle the tahini sauce around it. Garnish with fresh parsley, the tomato cubes and even more olive oil.