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by Chef Tara Thomas


IN DEFENSE OF CAULIFLOWER

Did you know there are over 80 different varieties of Cauliflower maintained in the United States alone? Despite being looked at as a common vegetable, cauliflower's spectrum of hues from white to deep purples are a veritable artist's palette and a cook's delight lending its slightly nutty flavor and crunchy yet creamy texture to a cook's delight.


TAHINI TOMATO & LIME ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

This is so delicious it is more like an addictive vegetable snack. After you roast the Cauliflower Florets, I'll bet you ate most of the dinner you intended to serve. Thank you to Christopher Kimball & Milk Street for inspiring this adaptation.

Do not skip the cornstarch!

INGREDIENTS:

3 Tablespoons Good Quality Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Tahini (plus Extra to Garnish)
1 Tablespoon Cholula Spicy Sauce (or Tapatio. Don't use astringent Tabasco)
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper, Fresh from the Mill
3 Pounds Cauliflower, Trimmed, Cored, and cut into 1 2/2- 2" Florets
1/2 Cup Raw Coconut Flakes, Lightly Toasted
1/2 Cup Cilantro, Stemmed, and Roughly Chopped
1 Tablespoon Lime Zest, plus Lime Wedges to Garnish


METHOD:


Preheat the oven with rack centered in the middle to 500 Degrees

Line a large Baling Sheet with Foil and Coat Generously with Cooking Spray (PAM Olive Oil)

In a Large Bowl, Whisk together Olive Oil., Tomaro Paste, Tahini, Cholula, Cornstarch, 2 Tablespoons Water, Salt & Black Pepper

Toss with Cauliflower florets, rubbing the Spice Mixture into all the nooks & crannies.

Place Florets on Baling Sheet, cut side down as much as possible

Roast until Tender & Lightly Charred 20-30 Minutes

While Florets are roasting, mix Lime Zest & Cilantro

When Cauliflower is done, transfer to platter, & Sprinkle with Cilantro Lime & Coconut Flakes

Garnish with Lime Wedges & additional Tahini for Dipping.

Pair with an icy cold glass of crisp GrunerVeltner from Austria or a Soanish Albarino

 

Who say's Cauliflower isn't everything you identify with? As the Joe Strummer & Mick Jones wrote so eloquently, "I'm all lost in the Supermarket". So grab some "guaranteed personality." Run to the vegetable section and shop happily.

Painting by Australian artist Madeleine Pfull. Photo courtesy of the Nino Mier Gallery
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The Los Angeles based chef, Tara Thomas has an incredible resume of experience, education and talent. In 1992, she co-founded the restaurant 410 Boyd, which became the darling of the downtown LA art crowd. In 1997, Chef Thomas founded Traxx Restaurant in historic Union Station, which became a staple of Los Angeles life for over 20 years. A contestant on Chopped, she has received many accolades from publications such as Gourmet, Food and Wine, the Los Angeles Times and NBC's Travel Cafe.

 

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