Growing up, I never thought a day would come where most my meals would consist of so many veggies, considering I loved my chicken and rice so much. I just liked to stay in my comfort zone and stick to what my mum cooked me, never thinking to branch out.
It’s a lot different now; I absolutely love trying new foods, flavours and experimenting with a multitude of spices. Cauliflower is definitely one of the less rated veggies out there where people tend to avoid because it’s lack in flavour and isn’t seen as versatile to cook with. I believed that for quite some time, where I tried some of the conventional (or shall we say, food industry) ways of eating cauliflower; boiled, steamed, tasteless and mushy!
Then, one day, at a restaurant in London, I had a warm cauliflower side dish and I was blown away. The cauliflower was cooked, but not over-cooked, and it was deliciously nutty and semi-crunchy, slightly charred and tossed with lemon rind and thyme. I ate the whole thing! And I kept thinking about this cauliflower in the days to follow and I was on a mission to recreate the dish. Night after night I will cook and eat cauliflower, until I got the recipe to my taste. And in the process of the eating and cooking and eating, eating, eating my cauliflower and I got reunited.
As people say – true love never dies. So go into your kitchen, pour yourself a cup of tea and make something that you love with all of your heart.
1 head cauliflower
6 pitted dates, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 sprig fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)
1 tbsp za’atar
Preheat the oven to 200C. Chop up the cauliflower into florets. Drizzle with olive oil, and then season with za’atar, salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until tender and nicely browned.
While the cauliflower is roasting, place a dry pan over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts and toast for 2-3 minutes tossing frequently until golden. Set aside.
Mix roasted cauliflower, dates and fresh thyme/rosemary into the pan with the pine nuts. Transfer to a serving dish and season with additional sea salt and pepper if needed.
Serve warm and enjoy!