I think cauliflower is such an underrated vegetable but that's probably because the usual cooking methods like stir-frying or steaming don't bring out the best in them. Enter deep-fried or roasted cauliflower and now you're talking. Suddenly the albino counterpart of broccoli is transformed and surpasses its more popular verdant green cousin.
This is a wonderful salad from Yottam Ottolenghi. Roasting the cauliflower makes them deliciously sweet and they go wonderfully with the crispy celery and the sweet and juicy pomegranate seeds. I suggest keeping an eye on your cauliflower while it roasts instead of relying on the time provided as they can burn easily. The same goes for the hazelnuts.
I don't like overly sweet or flavoured dishes so I added the spices and maple syrup to taste instead of just throwing the set amounts in the next time I made this salad.
1 head cauliflower, approximately 680 g, broken into small florets
5 T olive oil
1 large celery stalk, cut on an angle into 1/4 inch slices (2/3 c total)
5 T hazelnuts, with skins
1/3 c small flat-leaf parsley leaves, picked
1/3 c pomegranate seeds (from about 1/2 medium pomegranate)
Generous 1/4 t ground cinnamon
Generous 1/4 t ground allspice
1 T sherry vinegar
1 t maple syrup
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Mix cauliflower with 3 T olive oil, 1/2 t salt and some black pepper. Spread out in a roasting pan and roast on the top oven rack for 25 to 35 minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp and parts of it have turned golden brown. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Decrease oven temperature to 160°C. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 17 minutes.
Allow the nuts to cool a little, then coarsely chop them and add to cauliflower, along with remaining oil and rest of ingredients. Stir, taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Serve at room temperature.
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