It’s a wonderful time of year for veg, autumn is the second spring right here in grey old blighty. Wild mushrooms are popping up under our feet, knobbley colourful squash are pilled high ripe for inspection in church halls, fresh wet walnuts are taking centre stage on the kitchen table eagerly cracked, baby leeks simmer ready for a weekday soup dinner and brassicas are harvested with green delight.
Brassicas are a family of veg that boast broccoli, kale (curly, Red Russian, dinosaur…) cabbage (red, white, green, Savoy, Napa…), brussel sprouts, pak choi and the often shunned cauliflower, not forgetting its close relation the Romanesco cauliflower, which is a definite looker.
Cast your mind back to school, queuing for a lunch of overcooked veg, bendy spoons and steamed puddings buried in cheap tinned custard layered with tepid skin. Now all that is going to disappear once you try my roasted cauliflower recipe which is so easy to make. It’s alive with flavour and has a super crunch that will be unrecognisable from those school memories.
Roasted cauliflower with a sultana, caper and parsley dressing
Serves 4 as a side salad or starter
Takes 25 minutes
For the roasting pan
1 x cauliflower, outer leaves removed (the leaves are edible so don’t waste them, treat them like any other leafy green)
1 x tsp of cumin seeds
4 x tbsp of olive oil
For the dressing
1 x tbsp of soaked juicy Turkish sultanas (soaked overnight or for around five hours)
1 x tbsp of Italian capers
1 x tbsp of decent red wine vinegar
1 x clove of crushed garlic
1 x tsp of pomegranate molasses (optional)
a good handful of flat leaf parsley
a generous pouring of your best olive oli
a good handful toasted sunflowers seeds or toasted flaked almonds
1. Turn your oven onto its hottest possible setting and prepare the cauliflower by carefully cutting it into medium sized florets and adding it to a large roasting tin. Toss with the cumin seeds and olive oil. Roast for around 20 minutes until browned, shake the tin after 10 minutes so the florets get an even colour.
2. While your cauliflower is roasting away get the blender out and add all the dressing ingredients except the olive oil. Blitz and add the oil until you have a thick dressing, tasting as you go and seasoning with sea salt and black pepper. Toast your seeds or nuts in a hot dry skiddle or frying pan taking care not to burn them.
3. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow to cool. Toss with the dressing and sprinkle with seeds or nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature. Eat alone or with a chuck of sourdough or an earthy grain such as spelt.
I’d love to hear your twist on any unloved autumn veg.