Cauliflower, Dates & Tahini

April 17, 2018

 

 

Spicy roasted cauliflower, shredded rainbow carrots, tahini lemon dressing, toasted pine nuts, dates, dried apricots, grated pecorino romano cheese, fresh parsley & mint

It has been the coldest, grossest April of—I assume—all time, so this pizza was a sort of sad (albeit very delicious) attempt to transport ourselves to some warmer Middle Eastern or North African climate instead of trying to use fresh spring produce when it is, for some reason, still winter. Vegetables + tahini and/or vegetables + dried fruits are a couple templates that I've been experimenting with a lot lately, and I highly recommend it. It's warm but also bright, sweet but also nutty and often spicy. If not on a pizza, try experimenting with these flavor combos in a soup (squash & raisins? chickpeas, carrots & dates?) or even just a salad with a bunch of fresh herbs mixed in at the end. Then just keep doing it until we finally get some sunshine.

 

Recipe

 

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough

olive oil

salt & pepper

flour for dusting

semolina flour for pizza stone

1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into bite size florets

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

2 carrots, shredded (we used 1 orange and 1 purple)

~4 dates, chopped

3-4 dried apricots, chopped

handful pine nuts, toasted

fresh parsley, roughly chopped

fresh mint, roughly chopped

hunk of pecorino romano, coarsely grated

 

For the dressing:

1/3 cup tahini (well-mixed)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons olive oil

water as needed

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400° F. Toss your cauliflower florets with the paprika, chili flakes, about half a teaspoon of salt and enough olive oil to lightly coat. Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, shaking halfway through, until browned and tender. When finished, increase the oven temperature to 550° F.

 

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, whisk or puree all the ingredients together, adding water as needed for a nice drizzling consistency. Toss half the carrots in a spoonful or two of dressing along with a pinch of your fresh herbs, reserving the rest separately.

 

Now you can 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, then sprinkle it with an even layer of cheese. Next, add the dressed carrots, roasted cauliflower, pine nuts, dates & apricots. Bake until the cheese is melty and the crust is a nice golden brown.

 

Take it out, adding a couple pinches of undressed carrots to add some brightness to the color, followed by a drizzle of the remaining tahini sauce and a generous sprinkle of fresh herbs. Now slice it up and enjoy!

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HOW TO PREPARE DOUGH

#1 

Start stretching it from the center, then move it around in a circle so that gravity stretches it and creates a natural crust. It helps to put some olive oil on your hands first.

 

#2

Place the dough on your floured surface & push it out with your fingertips until it's the size of your pizza stone. You can fold over the edges to create an extra fluffy crust.

 

#3

When the oven is hot (preheat it with the stone inside), sprinkle some semolina flour on the pizza stone and place your dough on it.

#4

Bake it for about a minute, or until it starts to bubble, then take it out. This last step isn't 100% necessary, but I feel like it adds a little extra crispiness to the crust.

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