Cauliflower with Spiced Tahini and Garlic-Chili Oil | Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street

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In London, a riot of Middle Eastern flavors transforms grilled cauliflower
Milk Street Bowtie Cauliflower with Spiced Tahini and Garlic-Chili Oil

Cauliflower with Spiced Tahini and Garlic-Chili Oil

1 hour 10 minutes 30 minutes, plus cooling

Cauliflower with Spiced Tahini and Garlic-Chili Oil

Free

This recipe melds the most delicious qualities of two Middle Eastern–style cauliflower dishes we tasted in London. We start by steam-roasting a whole head of cauliflower until tender, then slather it with a mixture of tahini and spices that caramelizes richly and deeply under a hot broiler. Grated fresh tomatoes and a pungent garlic-chili oil finish the dish, along with a shower of parsley and toasted pine nuts (you can substitute chopped almonds, if you like). The result is an impressive, incredibly flavorful vegetarian main or hearty side. To serve, cut into wedges as if serving a cake.

4-6

Servings

Tip

Don’t bother opening the foil packet to test the cauliflower for doneness. It’s fine to insert the skewer through the foil. When making the garlic-chili oil, be careful not to overcook the garlic and pepper flakes or the flavors will turn acrid. When the mixture starts to sizzle gently, transfer it to a small bowl; if left in the skillet, the residual heat may cause scorching.

1 hour 10 minutes

30 minutes, plus cooling

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 pound head cauliflower, trimmed
½-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 ripe but firm tomatoes, halved
¼ cup tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus wedges to serve
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground sumac
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
Ingredients
  • ¼

    cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 2

    pound head cauliflower, trimmed

  • ½-1
  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    ripe but firm tomatoes, halved

  • ¼

    cup tahini

  • 1

    tablespoon lemon juice, plus wedges to serve

  • 2

    teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2

    teaspoons ground sumac

  • ¾

    teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ½
  • ½

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

  • ¼

    cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions
  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly brush the foil with oil. Place the cauliflower in the center, then draw up the edges of the foil; drizzle 2 tablespoons water onto the cauliflower, then enclose the head, folding and crimping the edges of the foil to seal. Bake until a skewer inserted into the cauliflower meets no resistance, 40 to 50 minutes.
    See Demo
    spiced-tahini-garlic-chili-oil-cauliflower-step-1
  2. 02
    Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the wrapped cauliflower cool for 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil but leave it in place under the cauliflower; set aside to cool.
  3. 03
    While the cauliflower cools, in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low, cook the oil, pepper flakes and garlic, stirring, until the mixture sizzles lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in ½ teaspoon salt and set aside. Grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater set in a medium bowl, pressing the cut sides against the grater, until only the skin remains; discard the skins. Stir ¼ teaspoon salt into the tomato pulp and set aside. In a small bowl stir together the tahini and lemon juice. Then stir in 2 tablespoons water, adding more as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is a smooth, spreadable paste. Stir in the cumin, sumac, cardamom, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.
    See Demo
    spiced-tahini-garlic-chili-oil-cauliflower-step-3
  4. 04
    Heat the broiler. Spread the tahini mixture onto the entire surface of the cauliflower, then broil until deeply browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and cool for about 5 minutes. Spoon the tomato pulp over the top, drizzle with the chili-garlic oil and sprinkle with the parsley and pine nuts. Serve with lemon wedges.
    See Demo
    spiced-tahini-garlic-chili-oil-cauliflower-step-4
Tip: Don’t bother opening the foil packet to test the cauliflower for doneness. It’s fine to insert the skewer through the foil. When making the garlic-chili oil, be careful not to overcook the garlic and pepper flakes or the flavors will turn acrid. When the mixture starts to sizzle gently, transfer it to a small bowl; if left in the skillet, the residual heat may cause scorching.
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Cauliflower with Spiced Tahini and Garlic-Chili Oil

Get Ready to Cook

4-6

Servings

1 hour 10 minutes

30 minutes, plus cooling

Tip

Don’t bother opening the foil packet to test the cauliflower for doneness. It’s fine to insert the skewer through the foil. When making the garlic-chili oil, be careful not to overcook the garlic and pepper flakes or the flavors will turn acrid. When the mixture starts to sizzle gently, transfer it to a small bowl; if left in the skillet, the residual heat may cause scorching.

Ingredients
  • ¼

    cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • 2

    pound head cauliflower, trimmed

  • ½-1
  • 2

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    ripe but firm tomatoes, halved

  • ¼

    cup tahini

  • 1

    tablespoon lemon juice, plus wedges to serve

  • 2

    teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2

    teaspoons ground sumac

  • ¾

    teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ½
  • ½

    cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

  • ¼

    cup pine nuts, toasted

Step 1 of 4

Bake Cauliflower

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
2
pound head cauliflower, trimmed

Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly brush the foil with oil. Place the cauliflower in the center, then draw up the edges of the foil; drizzle 2 tablespoons water onto the cauliflower, then enclose the head, folding and crimping the edges of the foil to seal. Bake until a skewer inserted into the cauliflower meets no resistance, 40 to 50 minutes.

Step 2 of 4

Cool Cauliflower

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the wrapped cauliflower cool for 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil but leave it in place under the cauliflower; set aside to cool.

Step 3 of 4

Make Garlic-Chili Oil and Spiced Tahini

¼
cup extra-virgin olive oil
½-1
teaspoon red pepper flakes
2
medium garlic cloves, finely grated
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2
ripe but firm tomatoes, halved
¼
cup tahini
1
tablespoon lemon juice, plus wedges to serve
2
teaspoons ground cumin
2
teaspoons ground sumac
¾
teaspoon ground cardamom
½
teaspoon ground cinnamon

While the cauliflower cools, in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low, cook the oil, pepper flakes and garlic, stirring, until the mixture sizzles lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in ½ teaspoon salt and set aside. Grate the tomatoes on the large holes of a box grater set in a medium bowl, pressing the cut sides against the grater, until only the skin remains; discard the skins. Stir ¼ teaspoon salt into the tomato pulp and set aside. In a small bowl stir together the tahini and lemon juice. Then stir in 2 tablespoons water, adding more as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is a smooth, spreadable paste. Stir in the cumin, sumac, cardamom, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside.

Step 4 of 4

Finish and Serve

½
cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
¼
cup pine nuts, toasted


Heat the broiler. Spread the tahini mixture onto the entire surface of the cauliflower, then broil until deeply browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and cool for about 5 minutes. Spoon the tomato pulp over the top, drizzle with the chili-garlic oil and sprinkle with the parsley and pine nuts. Serve with lemon wedges.

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