Spiced romanesco cauliflower & okra salad

Spiced romanesco cauliflower & okra salad

Spiced romanesco & okra salad with black garlic recipe

Here I have yet another greenmarket salad that I whipped up whilst staying in New York. It all started when I spotted some gorgeous little Romanesco cauliflowers at a place called Gourmet Fresh on Court Street in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighbourhood. I didn’t buy them at the time but they played on my mind for over a week.

When I wanted to buy some of them we had already moved from the Brooklyn apartment to a place in Meatpacking, a little too far to go to buy some little green cauliflowers. And do you think I could find anywhere in Manhattan that sold them? No. I stopped into every place that sold fresh produce and none of them had Romanesco cauli’s. Even Whole Foods.

It was when we went back to Brooklyn one day to have lunch that we decided to stop into a place to grab some water that I found them again. Yeeha! Over the next day or so I mulled over what to do with them. That’s when it all came together. Some fresh okra from Union Square Greenmarket and a few prune plums and bulb of black garlic from the fruit shop at Chelsea Market.

I’d seen black garlic in a dish we had at a restaurant, wondering where I could get it. It’s basically a bulb of regular garlic that has been fermented with heat, rendering the clove a deep black colour. The texture is like firm jelly and it tastes a bit like Marmite or rich molasses. Great thing is that you don’t get that nasty garlic stink on your breath afterwards.

Finally for this salad I was determined to add a little exotic spice and crunch, in the form of dukkah. Now this is one spice mix that I struggled to find anywhere in New York. Yes I could have made it, but all I needed was a tablespoon or two. I Googled, I went into gourmet food stores, most people didn’t even know what I was talking about. We even schlepped all the way out to a neighbourhood in Queens called Astoria, as there’s a street that’s lined with Egyptian shops and restaurants. Still no luck.

Za’atar would have to do. It was the closest thing I could find, and in doing so discovered a great little restaurant that we went back to twice. More on that in a future post.

So here you have it. Romanesco cauliflower and okra spiced with za’atar, some sweet black garlic and juicy wedges of pan-seared prune plums. There’s a little honey in there for a very subtle sweetness as well.

Black garlic

Spiced romanesco & okra salad with black garlic recipe

Spiced romanesco & okra salad with black garlic recipe

Spiced romanesco & okra salad with black garlic recipe

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Spiced romanesco cauliflower & okra salad
Using seasonal ingredients from the greenmarket, this romanesco and okra salad is sure to please any herbivore.
Spiced romanesco & okra salad with black garlic recipe
Course Salads, Vegetables
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads, Vegetables
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Spiced romanesco & okra salad with black garlic recipe
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the cauliflower and okra for two minutes. Let it sit in the colander to drain well and dry from the residual heat. Toss the olive oil through the vegetables and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet or frying pan over medium high heat. Toss in 2 tbsp of the za'atar and toast for 15-20 seconds. Add the cauliflower and okra, tossing frequently to coat the vegetables in the spices. Tumble the vegetables onto a baking tray, cut-side down and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the okra is golden. Set aside.
  4. As the cauliflower and okra bake, reheat the frying pan over high heat. Carefully place the plums, cut-side down, onto the pan and sear until darkened. Careful turn each piece over to sear the other cut side. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
  5. To serve, scatter the smoked paprika over the serving platter, or over each serving plate. Do the same with the remaining za'atar. Place the cauliflower and okra onto the plate, add the seared plums and sliced black garlic. Lightly drizzle over the virgin olive oil and honey, then season with salt and pepper.
Recipe Notes

Get my recipe for za'atar here.

 

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