Rick and I went to Birba, an excellent restaurant in Palm Springs. It’s a popular place with all outside tables and beautiful lighting, especially enjoyable on a warm night. We loved all the food, but were especially blown away by the cauliflower. It was served whole; twice cooked; boiled first and then baked with cheese. It’s actually quite simple to make and is a wow dish to serve your friends and family as a side dish; (true confession–we usually make one and eat it all ourselves).
I’ve tried to reproduce the dish we had at Birba, but have made my own variation, with more of an Indian spice flavor. You can use other spice combinations that you like, such as Italian seasoning, dill or basil. The main thing is the first steam or boil the vegetable whole, then add seasoning in an olive oil base, grate cheese on top and bake. Looks very elegant and tastes delicious!
Twice Cooked Cauliflower (serves 2-3, depending on size of cauliflower)
- 1 Cauliflower (or make two to serve four or more)
- 1 tsp. Turmeric
- 1 tsp. Coriander
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tsp. capers
- Smoked Paprika
- 1/3 cup grated aged goat or cow gouda, or Parmesan
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- Lemon Pepper
- Salt-free seasoning, pepper; or 1tsp. salt–your choice
- TO DO: (Preheat oven to 400 degrees before baking)
1. Wash and core cauliflower, but leave whole.
2. Boil cauliflower with approx. 3 inches of water, in a 4-6 quart oven proof pot, such as Calphalon, or Corning ware, until still firm, 10-12 minutes (test with knife)
3. Whisk all spice ingredients and capers in olive oil, except for Smoked Paprika.
4. Pour olive oil mixture over cauliflower, getting into crevices. (You can do this in advance–marinate the cauliflower by pouring the mixing over it and letting it sit for an hour or so before baking.)
5. Sprinkle paprika, and grate cheese on top.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until brown and cheese is melted.
Serve as a side dish; and, as we usually have, a crisp green salad with a tart, lemony vinaigrette–see previous Salad posts for the vinaigrette recipe: Persimmon and Endive salad; (can be made with pears, orange/tangerine pieces or even strawberries, depending on the season).