A mezze dish of creamy sweet cauliflower with zesty green herbs
Those ridiculous flavourful leaves we single out as herbs are the star of this dish. Inspired by both the Persian sabzi, or herb ‘salad’, and Middle Eastern tabbouleh, the bland, creamy sweetness of cauliflower makes it the ideal base for a plethora of zesty green flavours and sweet dried fruits. This is an incredibly moreish addition to a selection of mezze, or a side dish for lamb or chicken—for a special occasion, you could scatter it with pomegranate seeds too.
1 smallish cauliflower
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp sultanas
1 tbsp barberries (or dried sour cherries or cranberries if unavailable)
3 tbsp pine nuts
4 slim spring onions
25g tarragon, leaves picked
25g mint, leaves picked
25g flat-leaf parsley
A squeeze of lemon juice
Cut the cauliflower in half and cut out the core. Discard the woody base from the core and roughly chop the rest, then break the head of the cauliflower into florets. Put it all into a food processor and pulse briefly until chopped into couscous-size pieces.
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the cauliflower with a little salt for a couple of minutes until just tender. Scoop into a large salad bowl.
Melt another tablespoon of butter in the pan and fry the sultanas and barberries for a minute until plump, then tip into the bowl and repeat with the pine nuts and remaining butter until toasted. Tip into the bowl.
Trim and roughly chop the spring onions, then put into the food processor and whizz until more finely chopped. Add the herbs and whizz again until it’s all fairly finely chopped, then tip in with the cauliflower and toss everything together with a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe from Felicity Cloake’s The A-Z of Eating: a Flavour Map for Adventurous Cooks (Fig Tree, £25)
Image: Helen Cathcart