I know what you’re thinking! Cauliflower! How dull!
Well, trust me, this dish will completely change your mind about this admittedly unexciting vegetable. In fact, you will first try one, just for kicks, then another, then you will not allow anyone to get close to the plate! You will finish the entire cauliflower in one sitting!
The secret is that the cauliflower comes alive when it is gently sauteed in oil; combine it with the tarator sauce it becomes irresistible…
Taratoris a multi-purpose sauce, used on falafel or shawarma sandwiches and with baked and fried fish.
The key to a good tarator is the right dosage of garlic and fresh lemon juice with tahini.
This dish is ideal for a party.
It can be prepared ahead of time. You can boil or steam the cauliflower up to 2 days ahead and let it sit in the fridge, covered in plastic wrap.
It is served at room temperature.
This recipe will feed 4 to 6 people as an appetizer or mezze.
1 head of cauliflower, free of blemishes.
1 cup of pure olive oil (not extra virgin) or 4 cups of any vegetable oil, if deep-frying
2 lemons, juice squeezed to equal 1/2 cup
6 cloves of garlic, mashed or 1 heaping teaspoon of toom
1/2 cup of tahini
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley (optional)
salt, to taste
- Using a sharp knife cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Heat some water in a pot and boil the cauliflower for a few minutes until tender. Alternatively, another method is to steam the cauliflower whole. Drain the florets in a sieve, and let it sit for a while, up to 2 days, refrigerated and covered.
- When you are ready to continue, heat some oil in a skillet till it reaches a temperature of 375F. Dry the cauliflower florets removing as much moisture as possible. Brown the florets gently. Remove from the oil and drain on a dish covered with paper towels. Another method would be to roast the cauliflower in a 350F oven till tender, about 30 minutes. Make sure to grease the vegetable with some olive or other vegetable oil first. Brown it briefly under the broiler till it has brown specks throughout. Yet another method, and the one I use now because it is the fastest, is to heat 4 cups of canola oil in a deep-fryer to 375F, then drop the cauliflower in the basket in the hot oil for about 10 minutes, until it browns all over. Then remove the cauliflower and drains on paper towels or several thicknesses of paper bags. Set is on a serving platter and make the sauce.
To make the Tarator sauce:
- In a blender, drop 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of tahineh and 1 teaspoon of mashed garlic (with a teaspoon of salt). Whirl the blender until the consistency is smooth, about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Place the cauliflower florets in a serving dish and the tarator sauce in the middle in a little dipping dish. Sprinkle the cauliflower with a pinch of sea or provide it at the table. Serve at room temperature.
NOTE: Any leftover tarator dressing can be used in the following ways: As a dressing for roasted beets or potatoes or boiled swiss chard. To make hummos or baba ghanooj. and as a salad dressing.