There are some foods that can transport you to a different time and place. It's actually one of the things I love most about food. If you think about it, the actual taste of food is fleeting, but memory of that taste can last forever. And while I know that sounds cheesy, it's actually scientifically legit. That's because our sense of taste and smell are processed in the same part of the brain that processes memory. (The amygdala, for those science nerds out there.) Point being, it's no surprise that food has the power to send us across the globe and back in time.

For me, this dish always takes me back to summer nights in Tel Aviv. In short, Tel Aviv is basically like Miami, but in the Middle East. City life and beach life coexist, and the food scene there is amazing. Every time I go, I'm discover something new. This roasted cauliflower with Lemon Tahini is an ode to summer nights in Tel Aviv spent sitting at a cafe, drinking a glass of wine, and letting the warm breeze pass over me.

But let's get to the food, because after all, that's why you're probably reading this. ;) So let me walk you through it. The cauliflower works as a canvas for all the spices and flavors that are going on. The cumin and coriander give it an earthy Mediterranean flavor, while the lemon tahini brightens it right back up. You could honestly stop right there, and that would be perfectly delicious. But to make it more of a composed dish, I added the currants for sweetness, pine nuts for crunch, and parsley for freshness. It's basically perfection on a plate. ;) Read on for the full recipe, and enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 medium cauliflower heads, cut into florets
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup zante currants
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parsley

Lemon Tahini Dressing:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Coat cauliflower in oil, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast cauliflower in oven for 40 minutes, or until slightly browned.
  4. In the meantime, blend dressing ingredients in a food processor.
  5. When the cauliflower is ready, remove from oven. Dress in enough tahini dressing to coat, leaving the rest of the dressing on the side.
  6. Mix in currants and pine nuts.
  7. Garnish with parsley.  

 

A few notes about this recipe:

  1. I would have ideally made this recipe with zataar, but I didn't have any on hand and I figured you might not either. Zataar is a Middle Eastern mixture of herbs and spices. If you haven't ever tried it, I'd highly recommend it. The flavor is fantastic. In this dish, I would recommend 1 tsp/head of cauliflower.
  2. Instead of the zante currants, feel free to use raisins or even finely chopped dates.
  3. You can also substitute the pine nuts with another kind of nut. In fact, I think pistachios would work really well here!
  4. If you want to get fancy you can roast the cauliflower head whole or slice it into "steaks" and drizzle everything on top. Your guests will be totally impressed!

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