Rhubarb is, perhaps unexpectedly, a leafy member of the buckwheat family with thick petioles (a fancy word for ‘stem’) that’s tart and succulent and boasts a green-pink ombre (very Microsoft WordArt circa 2001). It’s also an esoteric word for a dispute or controversy, and maybe it’s the latter that gives this petiole (can’t resist) its characterful sharpness.
Cauliflower leaves often get side-lined, tossed aside and relegated to the compost. They’re delicious roasted in a little oil and black pepper for about 10 minutes (at the same temperature you roast the florets). These are lovely served as a garnish atop the tahini bake.
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- Serves 4
rhubarb, 250g chopped into 1-inch chunks, 50g finely sliced
sumac + 1 tsp extra
milk (any kind will work)
- Preheat the oven to 430F/220C/200C fan.
- Toss the cauliflower florets in rapeseed oil and 1½ tbsp of the sumac, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a roasting tray. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until soft and starting to brown.
- Meanwhile, make the tahini béchamel. In a saucepan over a medium heat, melt the butter and stir in both flours to form a roux. Continue stirring this for 2 minutes to cook it out. Slowly, pour in the milk and stir until you get a smooth sauce. (You may want to use a whisk for this.) Cook for 5 or so minutes, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened. In a separate bowl, whisk together the tahini and water until smooth and an off-white colour, then add this to the béchamel along with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. It should be fairly thick but pourable – you may need to let it down with a touch more milk. Remove from the heat until needed.
- When the cauliflower is almost cooked, toss the 1-inch chunks of rhubarb in a drizzle of rapeseed oil and seasoning and roast for 5 minutes, until just starting to soften but retaining their shape.
- Transfer the roasted cauliflower and rhubarb to an ovenproof dish, pour over the tahini béchamel, then sprinkle on top the finely sliced rhubarb, parmesan, lemon zest and pine nuts. Give it a good grinding of black pepper and place under the grill for 3-5 minutes, keeping an eye on it. You want the rhubarb on top to soften slightly but avoid burning the cheese.