I’m always on the lookout for new things to do with cauliflower. Otherwise, it ends up in a risotto, or cauliflower cheese or some sort of pasta dish. I also tend to use a lot of dairy products with cauli, or anchovies, so I was also keen to find a vegan-friendly cauliflower dish.
As I was browsing through Gil Mark’s lovely book, Olive Trees and Honey, I came across a recipe for Sephardic style cauliflower, in which the florets were cooked in a fresh tomato sauce. It looked nice, but the cooking times for the cauliflower looked WAY too long. DH has a thing about traditional Jewish food always being overcooked, and was smug that it wasn’t just Ashkenazi Jews who committed crimes against vegetables. He dubbed the recipe ‘Jewish style cauliflower’. (Incidentally, the great Florence Greenberg of blessed memory, doyenne of Jewish cooking, recommends boiling cauliflower for 20-30 minutes. So he may have a point.)
Anyway, I amended the original recipe, cutting the cooking time by about half. The cauliflower was still way too soft for our liking. Next time I will skip the initial boiling step altogether and simply poach/steam the cauliflower in the sauce. Depending on how well done you like your cauli, I suggest you amend as appropriate too.
I also added some dill to the sauce. This was a last minute decision, but a very tasty one. I think I underuse dill, so have been making an effort to add it to more dishes. It has a unique flavour that complements a lot of vegetables, although traditionally it’s paired with fish and eggs. Give it whirl and see what you think.
Despite the cauliflower being a little less crisp than we wanted, we managed to eat a whole bowl of this between the three of us, so it wasn’t an abject failure! The flavour is delicious, and this recipe will definitely be added to the list of ‘things to do with cauliflower’. I’d say it serves 3-4.
- I medium cauliflower - about 750g
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 275g fresh tomatoes (4 medium tomatoes)
- 100ml hot water
- 1 tbsp chopped dill
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the cauliflower into florets and wash well. If desired, boil for 3-5 minutes, then drain and set aside. (If you like your cauliflower firmer, omit the boiling step.)
- Peel and finely dice the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large shallow pan over a medium heat, and sauté the onions and garlic until just softening - 2-4 minutes.
- Skin and dice the tomatoes and add to the pan with the onions. Stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the hot water and simmer, covered for around 5 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower florets to the pan, and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked to your liking. Stir in the chopped dill, and season to taste with salt and pepper.