Brined Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachio Pistou

November 19, 2016
1 Ratings
Photo by savorthis
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Recently I was reading Ideas in Food by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot and was intrigued by the idea of brining vegetables before cooking. I have marinated them and pickled them, but had yet to try that technique. I had a cauliflower and thought it would be a perfect candidate. In the morning I made a basic brine and added some coriander, peppercorns and orange peel, sliced the cauliflower into thick slices and put it in the fridge. When I got home that night, I rubbed it with oil and spices and roasted it to a deep golden brown. It was tender and juicy and exceptionally crispy and delicious. While it was cooking I blended up a mix of toasted nuts, herbs and citrus which moved it into the realm of Favorites. I thought the pistou would be equally great on roasted beets so I threw some of those in the oven as well and had an incredible salad the next day of cauliflower, beets, pistou and lettuce. —savorthis

What You'll Need
  • Cauliflower
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • peel from an orange
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • oil
  • ground cumin
  • turmeric
  • 2 cups ice
  • Pistachio Orange Pistou
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (s&p version works well)
  • Cup loosely packed parsley
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (white wine or coconut work well too)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 green onions, light and dark green parts, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil (walnut oil is also very good)
  1. Cauliflower
  2. Heat water with salt, coriander, pepper and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add ice and stir until melted.
  3. Cut cauliflower into 1" planks. You will also have some florets which you can cut to make uniform in size. Place cauliflower in a baking dish, cover with brine and refrigerate for several hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°. Drain cauliflower and pat dry. Drizzle oil on a large baking sheet. Place cauliflower on sheet, drizzle/brush a thin layer of oil on top and season with light sprinkle of cumin, turmeric, and pepper. You can taste a small floret to test the salt content. I added a very slight sprinkle of salt. Roast in the oven about 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through, until deeply golden. You might need to remove the florets earlier so they do not burn.
  1. Pistachio Orange Pistou
  2. Toast the almonds in a dry pan until lightly brown. Pulse the nuts, parsley, vinegar, zest, juice, vinegar and salt until fine and even. Add oil and mix until blended. Taste and adjust for salt if needed.
  3. Top cauliflower with pistou and enjoy!

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