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,
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.