Food Writer and Chef
Food Writer and Chef
Blanche Vaughan is a food writer and chef who worked at the River Cafe, Moro and St John. She has written for the Guardian and published four books.
Image by Nassima Rothacker / Contributor
October 31, 2023
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How to make a prosaic vegetable look impressive – serve it whole. The sauce ingredients, once gathered, just need to be fed into a blender, and before you know it, you have a vegetable dish worth celebrating to put in the middle of the table, for everyone to carve out their own portions. Cook this in a big Le Creuset-type pot and either serve it in that or transfer it whole to a dish, sitting on the lemon slices, the sauce poured over the top and decorated with the nuts, chickpeas and pomegranate seeds. It should be soft enough to serve with a spoon.
Whole roast cauliflower with tahini and roast chickpeas
- 1 cauliflower
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 tablespoon za’atar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons natural yogurt
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the topping
- 50g (1¾oz) hazelnuts, chopped
- 50g (1¾oz) flaked almonds
- 300g (10½oz) cooked chickpeas
- Seeds of 1 pomegranate
- First steam the whole cauliflower. Put 5 cm (2in) water in the bottom of a large, lidded, ovenproof casserole. Sit the cauliflower on an upturned heatproof plate in the pot and steam for 15 minutes until just tender at the core.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan), 350°F, Gas mark 4. Tip out the water from the casserole and remove the cauliflower and the plate. Lay the lemon slices on the bottom of the casserole and place the cauliflower on top. Sprinkle with the spices and lots of salt, and pour over 2 tablespoons of the oil. Cover and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 20 minutes. Insert a skewer into the stem – it should meet no resistance. Leave in a warm place.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients, season well and add enough water to create a loose, runny sauce.
- For the topping, toast the nuts in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (180°C fan), 400°F, Gas mark 6. Rinse and dry the chickpeas. Lay them flat on a roasting tray, cover with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season well. Roast for 5–10 minutes until they crackle and colour slightly.
- Put the whole cauliflower on a large serving plate, pour some of the sauce over the top and scatter with the hazelnuts, almonds, roast chickpeas and pomegranate seeds. Serve the rest of the sauce in a jug at the table.
Excerpted with permission from House & Garden: A Year in the Kitchen by Blanche Vaughan, Mitchell Beazley.