Cauliflower & Grilled Pineapple Salsa
Baharat-roasted cauliflower, grilled pineapple salsa with bell peppers & jalapeños, crumbled feta & lime juice
Continuing this week's accidental theme of spice mixes, we are using a baharat, which is a popular Middle Eastern spice blend using ingredients like chili, coriander, cardamom & cumin (plus a few non "c" spices too). There are many different recipes for this, so feel free to experiment a bit with what you find online, or just buy a pre-made mix, which can be found at most specialty grocery stores or spice stores. Ours was adapted from one of our favorite cookbooks, Honey & Co., which is also where we got the idea to use it on cauliflower (see: their cauliflower "shawarma" recipe). And then we decided to leave the Middle East abruptly and throw in some island flavors with the pineapple salsa, which somehow makes the whole pizza taste like a delicious vegetarian taco. Plus, grilling the pineapple—and the other veggies, but especially the pineapple—really takes it over the edge. And there's a good universal takeaway: when given the chance, always grill the pineapple.
1 ball of pizza dough
flour for dusting
semolina flour for pizza stone
salt & pepper
1 small to medium head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons baharat spice mix
handful of crumbled feta
squeeze of lime juice
For the salsa:
1/2 pineapple, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded & quartered
1/2 small red onion, cut in half
1/3 cup cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cumin
*Preheat your oven to 400° F and your grill or grill pan to medium high heat. When the oven is hot, place the whole head of cauliflower in an ovenproof saucepan (like a dutch oven), such that it fits snugly. Fill the bottom of the pan with enough water to cover the stem and leaves of the cauliflower, then drizzle about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over top. Sprinkle with the spice mix and a heaping tablespoon of salt—it should be enough to create a nice spice crust.
Roast for about an hour to an hour and a half, until a knife can be easily inserted into the center and down through the stem.
While this is cooking, you can start grilling your vegetables and pineapple. Drizzle the onions and peppers with olive oil, and, putting the onions on a skewer to keep them together, place them all on the grill. Add the pineapple at the same time, and grill everything, turning once or twice, until tender and lightly charred all over**.
Once your fruit and veggies are cool enough to handle, chop them all up, being sure to deseed the jalapeño. Toss everything with the cilantro, lime juice, spices and salt & pepper to taste, and set aside until ready to use.
When the cauliflower is ready, carefully lift it out of the water and cut it into florets, then increase the oven temperature to 550° F, or as hot as it will go. Once it's hot, prepare your dough using the instructions on the right. After you've baked it for a minute, take it out and brush it lightly with olive oil.
Scatter a handful or two of crumbled feta on top of your pizza dough, then top it with the salsa and cauliflower. Pop it in the oven and bake until the crust is a nice golden brown, then take it out and squeeze some lime juice over all of the toppings. Garnish with a little fresh cilantro if you have any left, and enjoy!
*Note: The cauliflower takes a while to cook, so make sure to leave yourself enough time. You can always make that and/or the salsa in advance (the cauliflower earlier in the day, the pineapple salsa up to a day in advance), and keep them covered in the fridge until you're ready to make the pizza. The cauliflower is going to get heated up again when the pizza goes into the oven, so you don't have to worry about eating it cold.
** The jalapeños should be finished first (about 3-5 min), followed by the peppers (about 6 min), then the pineapple (8-10 min) and the onions (about 12 min).
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