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Roasted Baby Cauliflower

When cauliflower first appears at the farmers markets in Michigan, it is a sign that autumn is near.  Neatly wrapped up in their green outer leaves, young cauliflower heads are stacked high on the tables when the market opens its doors.  These “baby” cauliflowers are often very sweet and lighter in cruciferous flavors, which become bolder as they mature.  Vegetables are often the stars of a meal when freshly harvested.  They carry the identity of the soil, the touch of the farmer and, frequently, the dew from the morning’s harvest.  

At the Royal Oak Farmers Market in Royal Oak, my favorite source for these incredible jewels is the Cinzori Certified Organic Farm booth.  Father and son team, Don and Anthony, harvest their produce from their eighty acre organic farm in Ceresco, Michigan.

This recipe was inspired by my frequent visits to Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia.  At Zahav, all vegetables are treated “masterfully” and are often on equal footing with all of the courses, vegan or not. 

Roasted Baby Cauliflower

Serves 6

3 heads baby cauliflower, leaves trimmed off

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Za’atar spice

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the cauliflower heads on a parchment lined baking sheet.  In a small bowl, mix the oil and spices with a spoon and ladle onto the top of each cauliflower equally.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is roasted on the edges.  

⅓ cup almond yogurt

2 teaspoons za’atar 

¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

¼ cup cilantro leaves, minced

⅓ cup flat leaf parsley, minced

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, za’atar and sea salt, drizzle on top of each cauliflower.  Sprinkle one tablespoon of pomegranate molasses on each one. Place the cauliflowers on a serving plate and garnish with cilantro and parsley in between the heads.  Cut the cauliflower in half when serving. 

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