There are layers of interesting tastes in this cauliflower recipe from “Plenty” by Ottolenghi. The inky taste (Mark Diacono’s adjective describes the aroma so well!) of saffron, with sweet plump sultanas, chewy “souri” green cracked olives and cauliflower is a great combination. In summer, using a mandolin to slice the red onion finely, this makes a vibrant salad. On cooler days, as the recipe suggests, we bake it and the aroma of the saffron really comes into its own.
Usually, we warm the saffron before grinding it in a pestle and mortar. It infuses better, but here we didn’t. Saffron’s golden strands look rather beautiful flecked over the cauliflower florets. We hardly ever cook Zejd’s “souri” green olives, using them in salads more often than not. Pitted, which doesn’t take long, and softened by the cooking, the “souri” olives still taste fresh. Their flavour is nicely absorbed into the blank canvas of the cauliflower.
If you’re looking at another cauliflower in a veg box and wanting to increase your repertoire of cauliflower recipes, this recipe is just the answer. A nice side to fish or chicken, and we think it makes a good stand alone dish with some labneh and bread alongside. And don’t forget to try it in the summer as a salad.
1 1/2 tsp of Zejd saffron (infused for 10min in 75ml boiling water)
1 medium cauliflower, divided into florets
1 large red onion sliced (or pink banana shallot)
90g sultanas or sour cherries
100g Zejd green cracked olives – pitted and cut in half
4 tbsp Zejd extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1. In a small bowl, infuse the saffron for 10 minutes in boiling water. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or gas mark 6.
2. Place the other ingredients in a bowl, except the parsley. Add the saffron and infused water. Mix with your hands, then put into a medium sized oven proof dish, cover with foil and place in the oven.
3. Cook for 40-45 min, halfway through remove the foil, and stir well, replacing the foil for the final 20 min until the florets are tender but not soft.
4. Remove from the oven, leave to cool a bit, before adding the chopped parsley.
An elegant side dish to have with fish, chicken or as a main with bread and labneh.