Whenever Rachel and I see friends, we’ll plan dinner at Shiloh’s Steak House on Pico Boulevard because we’re just completely obsessed with its roasted cauliflower and tahini.
Considered a nutritional superfood, cauliflower is rich in protein, fiber and vitamins B and C. The compounds common to all cruciferous vegetables (broccoli,
cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts) protect cells from DNA damage. With all the keto, paleo and gluten free diets out there,
cauliflower is the right vegetable at the right time.
Rachel and I love to include this versatile vegetable on our menus in soups, stews and vegetable purees. Rachel’s favorite cauliflower recipe, Karnabit Frita, evolved from two great cooks: her mother-in-law Becky Sheff and celebrated Sephardic cookbook author Stella Hanan Cohen. Both women dip the cauliflower florets in egg and flour (or matzo meal for Passover), then fry. In the Rhodesli tradition, Becky Sheff bakes the cauliflower smothered with a tangy, lemony tomato sauce. Cohen makes a Karnabit Frita stew; she adds tomato sauce, potatoes, celery, carrots and spring onions and simmers on the stove. Always served over rice, this dish still elicits drools of delight from friends in the Ladino community.
My Curry-Roasted Cauliflower borrows from a staple of Indian cuisine, the magical pairing of curry and cauliflower. Roasting makes the cauliflower crisp and the spices add a rich, nutty depth that amuses the palette. The garbanzos and cashews add a meaty texture. Serve it hot over rice or as a bright salad garnished with cilantro and parsley.
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzos, drained
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 cup cashews
1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley, minced, for garnish
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, minced, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl, toss cauliflower florets and garbanzos with oil and spices.
Arrange on baking sheet in single layer.
Bake till cauliflower is tender, about 25 minutes.
Add cashews and toss.
Garnish with greens, if serving as a salad.
KARNABIT FRITA (FRIED CAULIFLOWER)
1 large head cauliflower
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 large potato, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup water or vegetable stock
Juice of one lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Rinse and trim cauliflower.
Soak in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then cut into florets.
Roll florets in flour, then dip in egg.
In deep frying pan, heat oil and fry florets until golden on all sides.
Drain on paper towel.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In large pot, sauté onion until soft.
Add sliced celery, diced potato, tomato sauce, vegetable stock or water.
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Pour sauce into baking dish, then add fried cauliflower.
Pour lemon juice over top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover and brown for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce and crisp florets.
Sharon Gomperts’ family hails from Baghdad and El Azair, Iraq. Rachel Emquies Sheff’s family roots are Spanish Moroccan. Known as the Spice Girls, they collaborated on the SEC Food Group and community cooking classes. Visit them Facebook at SEC FOOD.