2016/03/03

Transformation (Cook the Book Fridays: Dukkah-Roasted Cauliflower)

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” - Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis    

Let's clear this up first thing - I am not about to compare roasted cauliflower to cockroaches; however, I realize that few people would be surprised if I somehow tried to make the connection.

Instead, my theme for today is transformation - a metamorphosis, one might say.

One of the things that I appreciate about the cooking and baking process is the way that little steps can have a large impact on the final result.

I think it was the discovery of browned butter that brought this concept to life for me.

The first time I put that browned butter in a batch of brownies, I was totally hooked. If you haven't tried browned butter in brownies, you are missing out. Truly.

 
I was pretty stoked to realize that I had everything I needed to make this in house (even the head of cauliflower) - someday, we need to have a chat about my spice drawers. I *may* have a spice problem.
 
Rant: has anyone noticed how expensive cauliflower has become in the last year or so? Is someone creating a cauliflower reserve somewhere?
 
As the dukkah ingredients toasted, I appreciated the opportunity to see (and smell) how each ingredient reacted to the heat - the toasty warmth of the hazelnuts, the lemony zing of coriander and the sharp, pungent smell of the peppercorns still tug at my memory. (The cumin, I could have done without.) I kind of wished I could bottle the scent and carry it around with me. I was almost reluctant to grind up the mixture for fear of somehow messing it all up.

 
The second round of transformation occurred when the cauliflower hit the heat. Oven-roasted cauliflower is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this vegetable. A little bit of salt and olive oil are all that are needed to change this cruciferous vegetable into something that can't be denied. David's recipe involves coating the vegetable in dukkah half-way through the roasting period (I also threw in some Ethiopian berbere for some heat).
 
Two thumbs up on this dish.
 
Bonus: I still have a large quantity of the dukkah left and I can't stop thinking about how good that would be on top of a roasted carrot soup with a swirl of hazelnut oil on top. Or tossed with some roasting parsnips. Or on top of a lentil salad. Or just eaten by the spoonful.
 
Possibilities...
 
This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays - an online cooking group that is currently making its way through David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen. We just started cooking our way through this book, so there is plenty of time to pick up a copy and start cooking along...

21 comments:

  1. Hazelnut oil and dukkah? Sounds heavenly....

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  2. Gah - I had to read La Métamorphose when I lived in Brussels for a year when I was 17 and I STILL have nightmares about it LOL! But you are right this dukkah did the trick for plain old cauliflower. I used some of my leftovers on chicken breasts roasted in the oven and it was really good too!

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  3. Sorry, but I can't stop thinking about roaches now. Crunch. Ew.

    All produce seems obscenely expensive to me since returning stateside. It's a problem.

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  4. Possibilities indeed! If you own the book Jerusalem (and you really should) there is a great recipe in there for pumpkin topped with dukkah. And I think the fennel was my favorite toasting smell.

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  5. I love the way your mind works...you always have a way of thinking outside the box! Great post, Cher!! This was a delicious find! I will be using the dukkah on many things now that I found it! Thank you David! Happy Friday!!

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  6. I love your description of how each spice smelled when it hit the heat- great story here. Thanks!

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  7. There are so many possibilities for that dukkah, aren't there? I like that you added some heat to the recipe, too. Cauliflower was a horrible price here a few months ago (it got so bad that the New York Times was reporting on vegetable prices in Canada - how unheard of is that?). Now, it's back to being a cheap, plentiful staple. I'm planning on enjoying it as much as possible.

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  8. I adore roasted cauliflower. LOL, never associated them with insects before. Your roasted cauliflower looks great.

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  9. I really thought Jim would hate this dish but he went nuts over it. Just
    can't win sometimes. So far all the recipes have been great, each and
    everyone tastier than the last.

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  10. Perhaps injecting cockroaches into a post about food, especially cauliflower which isn't our most beautiful fruit or vegetable (I'm thinking peach, ripe tomato, grapes, a plump carrot) is not a great idea. When I finally banished the insect from my mind, I enjoyed reading your post. I agree that heating spices either together or individually always provides a wonderful aroma. I'm a cauliflower fan and roasting it may now be my favorite technique.

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  11. Now you've got me thinking about roasted carrot soup with dukkah and hazelnut oil! Sounds amazing!
    The cauliflower was sooo good! I was surprised at how good cauliflower can taste :)

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  12. Love your description of the various aromas of the spices being roasted (I will just ignore the part of the bugs...)did your coriander seeds popped? I have been more adventurous with cauliflowers lately, previously I only used them in soups! I had since made them into rice, battered and fried and now roasted!

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  13. Cauliflower is pretty expensive over here too! But it definitely is worth it, we finished the whole head. This is yum!

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  14. Agreed! The price of cauliflower is ridiculous...I blame the farmers...lol
    Good call on the berbere. I was thinking the spice from the peppercorns was rather one dimensional and thinking that I would be substituting something else the next time I make the dukkah.

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  15. I was waiting for the cockroach-cauliflower connection and am very disappointed. HA! You know, it's funny, I hadn't thought much of cauliflower being more expensive, but every time I buy it (which is every other week or so), I do think on how it used to be $1.99/head and now it's $1.99/lb. Sigh. Glad you all liked it--we thought it was delicious. Well, I did. I ate it all before my husband could have some. He only found out that I made it because I told him about my post and then he was jealous. :) That's saying something about cauliflower, huh?

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  16. I loved this one too even with the cumin. I've never had browned butter in brownies but I will have to try that out. What's your favorite brownie recipe? (I'll admit that my favorite is Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate mix from Costco...) As for cauliflower prices, I heard that the prices are high because the low-carb fad has made cauliflower super-popular so probably supply is less than demand. Maybe the prices will go back down once the trend passes or the farmers plant to meet the demand? I have hazelnut oil in the fridge, so that soup idea will get tried at my house. Have a great week!

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  17. Ah yes, browned butter. Learned that one (along with many others....) a la Dorie. I am going to try this one and am curious to see if I will need a trip to the store. I have a feeling that I may actually have whatever unusual spice is needed actually on hand. Plus rosewater. Don't forget the rose water.....

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  18. It's possible that I have had more than one spoonful of my leftover dukkah. This was my first time oven-roasting cauliflower, but it certainly won't be my last!

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  19. Browned butter and roasted spices are both transformative, I think. Our finished cakes or dishes are so much better with these ingredients. I don't know which one I like better: dukkah or cauliflower in this dish? Hard choice.

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  20. Cauliflower... the short rib of the vegetable world. I know now it is not 100% an island problem. I had never heard of dukkah before reading this week's posts. Could pecan or almond dukkah become a thing?

    Warm hugs from here to there.

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  21. Just salt and pepper, olive oil, roasted cauliflower can be so good. Use yogurt as dipping sauce to serve with roasted cauliflower, it is so delicious and I guess everyone loves it. :)

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