Cauliflower is a very giving vegetable, it goes with so many dishes but very rarely do I give it time in the spotlight, cauliflower cheese is of course, a classic, but it’s not a dish which I make very often as I can find it to sit a bit too heavily. A friend was recently telling me about a roasted cauliflower she ate at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter, and it inspired to make the dish at home.

This is a vegan dish, and though it was not my goal, this does happen from time to time when vegetables are looking their finest and you live for ripe tomatoes.

Having never done this dish before, I took some advice from my cookbook Le Grand Livre Marabout des Legumes which, as the name suggests, is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to vegetables. All in all I think it turned out really well, I would have liked it be a little bit more golden, but it was definitely tender enough and quite frankly, we were hungry. The recipe didn’t include port or almonds, however we have a lot of port leftover after I made the roast duck, and I thought it would make the tomato sauce a lot richer, which it did and the almonds complimented the natural nuttiness of the cauliflower quite happily.

So here you have it…

Ingredients:

– 1 head of cauliflower with the outer leaves peeled away
– 4 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
– 3tbsp port
– 1g whole almonds, finely chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 1/2tsp paprika
– 1tsp turmeric
– 2 sprigs of thyme
– 2 cardamon pods, bashed
– 4tsp Extra virgin olive oil
– Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

Method:

– Preheat the oven to 180°C.
– In a bowl, mix the garlic, paprika, turmeric, olive oil, cardamom pods, thyme leaves and leave to infuse.
– Cut the stalk of the cauliflower so it can sit flat, lay on a sheet of aluminium foil and place on a baking tray.
– Rub the garlic mixture all over the cauliflower and season with fresh black pepper and sea salt, fold over the cauliflower and cook for one hour.
– Fold back the foil and pour over the tomatoes and port, return to the oven for thirty minutes.
– Heat up a frying pan on a high heat and toss the almonds until they start to golden.
– Take the pan out of the oven, sprinkle the almonds and parsley leaves on top and serve.
– This is a very filling meal, but if desired the recipe suggested serving it with ‘riz complet’ (whole grain rice), which I cooked but used the rice instead for a potato curry the next day. I did however, serve the dish with some steamed spinach but any fresh green will do just nicely.

Bon appetit!

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