Roasted Cauliflower with Chilis
Roasted Tahini Cauliflower
This recipe comes to us from Max Falkowitz, an award-winning food writer who travels the world in search of incredible spices. The cauliflower is coated in a thin layer of tahini mixed with chiles and black pepper. Tahini clings to the florets like a batter in the oven, forming a crust almost as if the cauliflower was fried, with none of the mess. It's an easy technique for a quick weeknight dinner or a side dish for a crowd. Tangy feta, fresh mint, and a squeeze of lemon juice give the cauliflower nice color and brightness.
Note: Urfa and Maras are peppers from Turkey, actually the same chile dried in two different ways. Maras (or Aleppo) pepper tastes bright and sunny; Urfa is dark and sweet like raisins. If you don't have these peppers, feel free to swap in your own favorites.
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tahini, as needed
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
- 2 teaspoons ground urfa pepper (PRO Plus FinaPod, see note above)
- 2 teaspoons ground maras pepper (MAX FinaPod, see note above)
- 1 teaspoon ground peppercorns (PRO Plus FinaPod)
- Salt, as needed
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- Fresh mint leaves
- Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat your oven to 475°F with a rack positioned close to the heat source.
Pull apart the cauliflower into florets with your hands; it's neater than using a knife. Tear into approximately inch-long pieces. Some will be larger, some will be smaller. This is a good thing.
In a large mixing bowl, coat the cauliflower in the tahini and olive oil. Use your hands to thoroughly coat each piece so the tahini sinks into all the nooks and crannies. Adjust the tahini and olive oil amounts as needed; your goal is a medium batter consistency that clings to the cauliflower without clumping. Once coated, stir in the urfa pepper, maras pepper, and black pepper to combine along with 2 generous pinches of salt.
- Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet so the pieces aren't touching and place in the oven. Roast until the cauliflower is well browned in spots and even a little charred, about 45 minutes. It's better to overcook these than undercook them for the tahini crust to form.
Remove the baking sheet and sprinkle the cauliflower with another pinch of salt. Use a thin spatula to scrape up any stuck-on pieces and transfer the cauliflower to a serving bowl. Top with crumbled feta, mint leaves, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice.