A savoury way to make the most of the king of dates
In this recipe, the cauliflower florets and dates are dressed with plenty of lemon juice and cold pressed rapeseed oil. There’s a tahini dressing option, but to be honest it doesn’t really need it; not least because it detracts attention from those dates.
6-7 plump medjool dates
2 large cauliflowers and their greens
25g flaked almonds, toasted
400g tin of cooked green lentils (235g drained weight), drained and rinsed
12-16 stems of coriander, leaves picked
Juice of ½ lemon
Cold pressed rapeseed oil
Heat your oven to 210C. Cut the leaves from the cauliflower, discarding only the very thick, slug-bitten ones. Put to one side.
Trim the cauliflowers into large florets, then those florets in half from top to bottom so there’s a nice flat surface to brown. Don’t throw the cauliflower core away—cut into 3-4cm thick slices and put into a large roasting tray with the florets.
Add 6 or 7 tbsp rapeseed oil. Mix well, then put in the middle of the hot oven. Roast for 45 mins to 1 hour, turning occasionally so that each of the florets is soft and brown at the edges. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, cut the dates in half, remove the stones, then shred the fruit into many thin pieces.
Bring a pan of water to the boil. Cut the stems of the larger remaining cauliflower greens in 2from top to bottom (so they cook at the same time as smaller ones). Blanch the greens for 90 secs and drain.
Add the lentils to the cauliflower florets, along with the cauliflower greens, half the dates, almonds and coriander, lemon juice, 2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Gently toss the ingredients, then decant onto a serving platter. Top with the remaining almonds, dates and coriander, and perhaps a glug more of that nutty rapeseed oil.
ALTERNATIVE: Make a tahini dressing by whisking together 2 tbsp each of lemon juice, tahini, rapeseed oil and maple syrup until smooth. If you go this way, there’s no need for the lemon juice and oil at the end—just liberally drizzle with dressing when the salad is on the platter.
Recipe: Ed Smith