The first thing I noticed when I walked into North Abraxas in Tel Aviv was an entire cupboard filled with whole roasted cauliflowers resting on parchment paper. It was an unexpected decoration, even though a friend who visited Chef Eyal Shani’s restaurant in Paris forewarned me that he was big time into cauliflower. I am a huge fan of cauliflower but have only had it cut up into florets or as a baby. Here, they were the size of volleyballs. This was the most audacious display of cauliflower I had ever seen. And they were delicious. At Pizzeria Mozza, I have included the cauliflower in our new roasted vegetable program. This is how we serve it there.
Nancy’s Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Za’atar and Mint Yogurt Sauce
- Cooking and Prep: 35 m
- Serves: 6
Mint Yogurt Sauce
Prepare the Cauliflower
Preheat the oven to its highest setting, usually 450–500 degrees Fahrenheit (230–260 degrees Celsius). Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
Add the cauliflowers and blanch for six minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Remove cauliflowers from the boiling water and submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process.
When cauliflowers are cool, remove from the ice water and pat dry with paper towels.
Set on baking sheets or in a baking pan and massage generously with olive oil, making sure that the oil seeps into all the crevices of the cauliflowers, especially the centers.
Roast cauliflowers until they are browned, rotating the pan for even browning, 15 to 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the cauliflowers with za’atar.
Prepare the Mint Yogurt Sauce
Place the yogurt in a bowl.
Add the oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and stir well. Using a spatula, fold in the mint. Season with pepper.
Serve cauliflowers whole with yogurt sauce.
Photograph by Steven Rothfeld from Israel Eats, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.