So, apparently our heads were off in the Southern Hemisphere when we chose pomegranate as this week’s ingredient, proclaiming at the time that it would be “the perfect springtime food” with which to experiment. Turns out that pomegranate is in fact a fall food, and furthermore, it is nowhere to be found in our respective grocery stores in the middle of March. Hence, we unveil this week’s new ingredient: Cauliflower.
This ingredient switch came at a fortuitous time, as I was assigned to bring a vegetable side dish to my family’s Passover seder on Monday night. Cauliflower is really a carte blanche among the vegetable kingdom, amenable to countless cooking techniques—steaming, boiling, roasting, mashing—and endless flavor combinations. I knew that amidst a smorgasbord of my aunt’s famous brisket, my grandma’s fruit compote, potato kugel, matzah ball soup, charoset (apple and walnut salad), and gefilte fish (shout out to Diphyllobothrium latum!), something fresh and light was in order for my cauliflower dish.
In keeping with the holiday’s celebration of the springtime, I chose to showcase the most quintessential of spring herbs: dill. This feathery herb is one of my all-time favorites and is a natural fit with cauliflower. Into the food processor went a huge bunch of dill, a bit of parsley, lemon zest and juice, some garlic, and a handful of pistachios for sweetness. The result was a verdant and vibrant sauce that deliciously enveloped florets of golden roasted cauliflower.
This dish added a dilly and lemony bite of freshness to our abundant holiday meal, and the next day, it made for a great addition to a lunchtime salad. When it’s not cauliflower week, I can’t wait to try this sauce on other things—pasta salad, potatoes, sandwiches—it’s almost as versatile as our starring ingredient itself.
If we manage to track it down, see you next week for some epazote experimentation!
Dillicious Roasted Cauliflower
2 heads cauliflower, broken into florets
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch dill (about 1 cup)
¼ cup flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic
¼ cup pistachios
⅓-½ cup olive oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 500. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until cauliflower is golden brown in places.
While cauliflower is roasting, combine dill, parsley, zest and juice of lemon, garlic, and pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. With processor running, slowly stream in olive oil until it reaches desired consistency. Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste and give mixture one final pulse. (Pesto can be made 1 day ahead of time).
Toss roasted cauliflower with pesto and serve (I would suggest starting off with about 1/2 cup and adding more of the sauce to taste). Cauliflower keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge and is tasty as a cold salad, as well.