When I daydream of publishing a cookbook, one of my titles would be “Vegetable Goddess,” since I fancy myself as someone who can entice people into eating the vegetables they think they abhor. However, there already exists a Vegetable God, Yotam Ottolenghi.
Not only do his recipes inspire gorgeous food porn photos but they taste as good as they look. Us mere mortals worship at his feet and if you have yet to be graced with his brilliance, now is your chance.
Cauliflower Cake, savory and delicious, combining basil, rosemary, red onion and turmeric with eggs, flour and roasted cauliflower. Best warm, still delicious straight from the refrigerator. You know you are at least curious!
1 medium head cauliflower
Oil for roasting or frying
1 cup flour (gluten free is fine)
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 red onion
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
1 bunch basil, chopped
1 cup parmesan or pecorino, finely grated
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Core and remove leaves of cauliflower and break into large florets. Cut florets in half and add a thin layer of oil to the bottom of the skillet and place florets cut side down in the pan; cover and cook for 7-8 minutes, until browned.
Flip florets and allow any moisture in the lid to drip into the pan. Add more oil as needed and salt florets. Cover and allow to cook another 9-10 minutes. Florets should be easily pierced with a knife but not mushy when done. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off the stem end of the red onion and peel it. Slice off two ¼ inch slices of rings and set aside, they will go on top.
Mince the remaining onion and saute it in oil with the rosemary for 4-5 minutes until soft. Set aside.
Meanwhile, beat eggs well and add basil, turmeric, baking powder, a pinch of salt, pepper, and cheese and whisk well to combine.
Gently fold in the cauliflower. At this point, if you have a springform pan, butter/oil the sides and pour in the batter.
If not (as I do not) tear off a large piece of baking parchment to fit into a deep baking dish (I use a circular corningware that is about 5 inches deep), press the parchment into it so it covers the bottom and the sides, and pour in the batter.
Push down the cauliflower so that it is submerged in the batter and press reserved onion rings on the top as decoration.
Bake for 45 minutes and check to see if it is done by inserting a knife or toothpick; if done, it will come out clean. If not, bake another 5-10 minutes until done. Remove and set on a drying rack for 10-15 minutes, then either take off the outer ring of the springform or lift it out.
Best served warm, not hot or at room temperature.
Note: I often pan fry the cauliflower ahead of time and refrigerate it until I’m ready to make the cake, cutting down on the preparation time considerably.