3.19.2016

Melting Pot

The kitchen has truly come to be the place where all cultures meet. Mostly, it's peaceful.

I often talk of keeping things pure, upholding tradition. I believe in that with my heart. But when I want to be creative? All cultural barriers go down, and every ingredient is fair game for my dinner.

Like tonight. I saw a recipe for roasted Romanesco cauliflower on a vegan site and it got me started pulling out the ingredients. Cauliflower is trendy right now, and with good reason. It is a wonderful vehicle for all kinds of interesting flavors. And it is healthful, too.

Bring on the citrus flavor! Preserved lemons: Morocco. Macadamia nut oil with lemon myrtle: Australia. (Thanks, John at He Needs Food!)

A little meat, for good measure. Pancetta: Italy. (Definitely NOT vegan.)

Some alcohol for depth. Vermouth: France.

Spices for zing. Pimentón: Spain. Aleppo pepper: Syria. Black pepper: India.

Tonight, I was all over the map - or globe, as it were.

~ David

Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower

2 medium heads Romanesco cauliflower (glad you had these, Larry’s Veggies!)
1 cup dry vermouth
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil with lemon myrtle
1 large shallot, chopped
2 large leeks, washed and chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 preserved Moroccan lemon, peel only
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces pancetta
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim stem, if necessary, so that the cauliflowers sit evenly. Place them in a large pot that has a lid. Carve an X a third of the way down into the top of each cauliflower. Pour the vermouth over top of the cauliflowers, gently prying open the place when you cut the X so that the vermouth seeps down.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil and macadamia nut oil with diced shallot, chopped leeks, lemon juice, spices, salt and pepper. Pour over the cauliflower, again prying open the X to let the flavors in.

Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the lid, sprinkle with pancetta, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with a grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It may be served hot or at room temperature.

Serves 4.


38 comments:

  1. I just love this David, our world is becoming smaller and smaller. We are so lucky to get to play with all these wonderful ingredients. You made a beautiful dish, I love all the different flavors.

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    1. Thanks, Gerlinde - we are so very lucky to have all these flavors at our fingertips. And, if not, they are just a click away in this day and age.

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  2. Yum! Anything I can substitute for the Aleppo pepper?

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    1. Hi Peg! There are many options. Aleppo pepper is slightly hot, and very flavorful. We have many chiles in our region that would work beautiful instead of the Aleppo - nothing too hot, though!

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  3. David, looks like a delightfully different way to serve cauliflower or as we call it "Blumenkohl" (but you knew that, of course) - a vegetable that we eat a lot around here and have treasured for the longest time.
    Noch ein schönes Wochenende - it is rather cold around here, absolutely no sunshine in sight ...
    Liebe Grüße auch an Mark!
    Andrea & Co.

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    1. I wonder why cauliflower, in all its different forms and iterations, is not popular. Maybe we are finally getting there! We love it, too, Andrea - and the Romanesco is a real favorite.

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  4. Now that's a flavour explosion, David, featuring the most beautiful vegetable around. Well, I think it is, anyway. The united nations on a plate!

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    1. It is such a beautiful thing, isn't it? And the fact that it tastes as good as it is pretty makes it all the better. The macadamia nut oil with lemon myrtle really added a nice layer of flavor!

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  5. Wow David, looks and sounds quite divine. I'm not sure we can readily get those caulis here.

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    1. I hope you can, Liz - I think I have seen them in Aussie farmers market sites. Keep an eye out!

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  6. Tonight's dinner included oven roasted cauliflower painted with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with Hawaiian sea salt and black pepper. Not quite so adventurous as your offering but quite lovely just the same.

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    1. That sounds really great, Lenny! I have yet to meet a roasted cauliflower I haven't loved! Hope all is well with you both!

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  7. I have been looking for a good cauliflower recipe - love this, cannot wait to make it

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    1. Let me know what you think, Paola! If you can't find all the ingredients just make fun substitutes!

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  8. Leave it to you to combine all those amazing flavorS! I love cauliflower, too, and just yesterday made a cauliflower pie with a potato crust!

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    1. That cauliflower pie sounds great, Susan - you need to tell me more!

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  9. Lovely! And I really love the global flavors! No rules in the kitchen, right?!!!

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    1. No rules, except when there ARE rules, Mimi!

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  10. This sounds wonderful! Is there any substitute for the Aleppo pepper?

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    1. Hi Peg - see my response to your first post!

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  11. Wonderful things get made from shaking up old patterns, David! Your dish looks amazing! I have never had macadamia nut oil with lemon myrtle, but I love it straight (can turn ordinary scrambled eggs into something exciting). In fact it was so much cheaper in Europe I had some sent to my daughter when she was studying there and said all I wanted for mother's day was for her to carry it home.

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    1. I love macadamia nut oil - you are so right, Inger, it is good on its won. With the lemon myrtle, it is amazing!!

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  12. I so want to travel here! I've always thought Romanesco is so fascinating -- it's the coolest vegetable ever to look at. The beautiful preserved lemon, along with the other delicious spices is making my mouth water!

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    1. Thanks, Valentina - I love having jars and jars of preserved lemons from our winter crop. They are good on so many dishes!

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  13. Hi David, I like that fact that this recipe is all over the map, just bought a Romanesco cauliflower at the farmers market Saturday and needed a plan. Will be preparing this tomorrow night, love this flavors. Beautiful pics too!!!

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    1. Sadly, they weren't at our market this past weekend. I wanted another one! Hope you enjoy it, Cheri!

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  14. Wow, David! I've never had Romanesco cauliflower, but this post and your pictures definitely have me wanting to try it :) Such pretty food!

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    1. To me, Marcelle, it is one of the most beautiful vegetables... and it even tastes good!

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  15. I'm back in Los Angeles from Nicaragua and heading to Florida tomorrow. I'm spending my one morning home to catch up on my favorite blogs. This worldly influenced one-dish-wonder seems perfectly apropos to my diverse travel itinerary. GREG

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    1. Greg - Glad C&L made the cut! You must be exhausted... can't wait to read about your trip.

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  16. David, you're brilliant. So glad I popped in and saw this wonderful looking dish. You've given me great inspiration for this weekend, as I have 13 of us over for Easter weekend and one of them is vegan - only found out after making a large pot of lamb tagine in advance for Sunday, ahem. Love, love, love the romanesco cauli and spices. Merci!

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    1. Jill - this will be perfect for a vegan! Just leave off the pancetta! :) And it will smell great alongside your tagine! Wish I were in Paris this weekend!

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  17. D, this looks crazy delicious! I'm going to see if I can find some romanesco tonight while I look for the lemon balm for Andrea's cake. xoox

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    1. I hope you found some Romanesco cauliflower out there! And lemon balm - although that would be easy for you to grow year round!

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  18. You may have circled the globe to get to your kitchen, David, but just look at the result. The flavors you've selected elevate this to heights unseen by any cauliflower that I've ever served. I cannot wait for our farmers markets to open. I'll be on the lookout for some fresh Romanesco. Thanks for sharing, David. Happy Easter to your both!

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    1. Thanks, John - Happy Easter to you, too! I hope the food around your table was wonderful!

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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