My twist on this now-classic dish is to serve it with dukkah, a little-known nut-and-spice blend that’s Egyptian in origin but has been wildly popularized half a world away in Australia. Dukkah is wonderful on vegetables, but you can use it to make compound butter or as a sandwich spread, to add zest to a basic pesto, or simply instead of salt and pepper—I like to think of it as five layers of flavor in one little sprinkle. At Aussie restaurants, you’ll often find it added to the dish of olive oil that is served with bread.
- 2 large heads of cauliflower
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse kosher or sea salt
- 2 lemons, each cut into 4 wedges, separated
- Fresh chopped curly parsley
For the dukkah:
- 1 cup hazelnuts, cashews or almonds
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
To make the dukkah, start by toasting the nuts. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes at 350°F until lightly browned. Set aside to cool (it’s not necessary to remove their skins), reserving the baking sheet for the cauliflower. Dry-toast the sesame, coriander and cumin seeds in a small frying pan on the stovetop, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Keep your eye on them because they can burn easily. Transfer the nuts and seeds to a food processor and add the salt, pepper and cayenne. Pulse just until crumbly. Don’t overprocess, or the dukkah will turn into a paste. Alternatively you can use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. (This can be made in advance. Refrigerate if not using immediately.)
Next, turn the oven up to 400°F and prep the cauliflower. Remove the green outer leaves from each head and carefully trim back the stem. Stand the cauliflower upright on a cutting board and cut 2 “steaks,” each about ¾” thick, from the center of each head. Reserve the remaining cauliflower florets for another dish.
Arrange the steaks on the rimmed baking sheet (you may need an additional sheet if the heads are very large). For each slice, brush both sides with olive oil and squeeze on the juice from one lemon wedge. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once with a spatula, until the cauliflower is tender and both sides are nicely browned, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a platter and liberally dust each piece with the dukkah. Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with parsley, and serve with the rest of the lemon wedges.
Yields 4 servings.
Grilled meat with herbaceous chimichurri sauce is a South American staple, popular in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Substitute flank steak or hanger steak if you can’t find skirt steak.
For the chimichurri:
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, stemmed
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh or teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 fresh jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Steak:
- 2 pounds trimmed skirt steak
- More kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Make the chimichurri:
Place the parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, and the jalapeño or red pepper flakes in a food processor and finely chop, running the machine in short bursts. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream, followed by 3 tablespoons of the vinegar and 3 tablespoons of water. Taste the chimichurri, adding another tablespoon of vinegar to make it tarter, if desired. If necessary, add another tablespoon of water to thin the chimichurri to a pourable consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste; it should be highly seasoned. Set aside for up to 2 hours.
Preheat your grill to medium-high. Season the skirt steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on its thickness (medium-rare is best). Let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes, then thinly slice the meat on a diagonal. Arrange on a platter and serve with the chimichurri sauce.
Yields 4 to 6 servings
The humble potato, a native of South America, takes on a sophisticated persona in this satisfying dish.
- 2 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 teaspoons merquén or smoked paprika
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small Spanish onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 3/4 cup dry white wine, preferably Chilean
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the garlic, bay leaf, hot red pepper, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until fully softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the potato mixture, then add the wine and broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, about 30 minutes.
Uncover and continue to cook, now stirring more often and adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, until the liquid has thickened and lightly coats the potatoes, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf and stir in the parsley. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Note: Don’t stir the potatoes too vigorously or they’ll break apart and make the sauce gluey. Also, don’t reduce the sauce too far; as the potatoes sit off heat, they’ll continue to absorb the sauce.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from 177milkstreet.com
Celery, usually a wan understudy on a platter of crudités or a bit player in soups, takes on a starring role in this refreshing salad. A rather strong-flavored vegetable, it really benefits from a short soak in olive oil and lemon juice.
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon (preferably Meyer) or lime
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 medium celery stalks, strings removed, thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 4 cups)
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn if large
- 1 medium head frisée, chicory, or escarole, cored and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
In a large bowl, whisk together the zest and juice as well as the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Add the celery and toss, then let the mixture stand for 10 minutes. Add the parsley, frisée, and nuts, then toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves 4 — Recipe from 177milkstreet.com