I love cauliflower to the moon and back, but when I first saw a recipe in Bon Appétit magazine for roasted cauliflower with date syrup (from Erez Komarovsky of Calilee Cooking School in Israel), I was intrigued.
The combination of cauliflower with nutty-creamy tahini and sticky-sweet date syrup is a bit unexpected and very delicious. I made it my own by turning it into an entree with some additional twists:
I added ground cumin for depth, a generous handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves for color and crunch, and sliced kalamata olives for a salty counterpoint, and was completely hooked. —Shannon
2 as an entree; 4-6 as a side
large head cauliflower (1-1.5 lbs)
each ground cumin, salt, and ground pepper
tahini, thinned with 3 tablespoons water
date syrup (see note), plus more to taste
pitted kalamata olives, chopped
chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, mint, and/or chives
Preheat oven to 450°F and line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment paper.
Place cauliflower upright on a cutting board. Cut a big slice from top to bottom, starting a little off-center so that you’re able to cut another large slice. I aim for about ¾”-1” thickness. I like to call these slices steaks.
I usually only get two big steaks out of a large head of cauliflower, so go ahead and chop up the rest of the remaining cauliflower into bite-size florets.
Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of cauliflower steaks with olive oil and place on baking sheet. Toss remaining florets in a bowl with a bit of olive oil, and spread out evenly on sheet pans. Shoot for a single layer.
Season cauliflower to taste with cumin, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper. Roast until browned in places and tender, about 30-35 minutes. I rotate the pans halfway.
Remove cauliflower from oven and sprinkle with lemon juice. Transfer steaks to two plates and drizzle with thinned tahini and date paste/syrup. Top with chopped olives and herbs. If you’d like, transfer remaining cauliflower to a bowl and top with additional tahini, date paste/syrup, herbs, and olives. You’ll probably need a little more of each, depending on the size of your cauliflower.
Note: Date syrup is available at Middle Eastern grocery stores and some well-stocked grocery stores. Or, you can make your own with a number of recipes from the internet (like this one: http://www.ohladycakes.com/how-to-make-date-syrup/).