with Chard Leaves, Pistachios and Pomegranate

By Gail Gordon Oliver

Roasting is my favourite way to prepare cauliflower and numerous other vegetables. This method causes the vegetables' natural sugars to caramelize on the outside while the actual flavour of whatever is being roasted becomes more concentrated and delicious. This dish combines fabulous flavours and textures and visual appeal.

One of the beauties of this recipe is that the roasted, hot cauliflower wilts the chard, so no stovetop cooking is required. The nuts can be toasted in the oven for a few minutes before the cauliflower goes in. Ground sumac can be purchased in Middle Eastern food shops and in many supermarkets. Its lemony flavour makes it a great staple pantry item.

Makes 4 to 6 side-dish servings

1 large head cauliflower
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tsp whole-grain mustard (such as Kozlik's Triple Crunch) or grainy mustard
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt, plus more if needed
1/2 tsp ground sumac (optional)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
pinch cayenne
2 tsp liquid honey or pure maple syrup
1 cup firmly packed Swiss chard leaves (centre stem removed), shredded
1/3 cup unsalted pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped, or 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (fresh or dried) or dried goji berries

 

Break the cauliflower into florets. Cut each small floret lengthwise through the centre. Cut each large floret lengthwise into three or four pieces. (Cutting through the florets will create a large flat area that will come into contact with the pan and ensure optimal caramelization.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the paper with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Place the cauliflower onto the paper in the pan in a single layer, cut-side down. Drizzle the cauliflower evenly with 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil. Bake in a 425º F oven until the cauliflower is golden on top and lightly browned on the underside, 25 to 35 minutes.

In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, cumin, salt, sumac (if using), pepper and cayenne. Slowly whisk in the remaining oil. Whisk in the honey.

Place the chard into a large bowl. When the cauliflower is done, transfer it immediately to the bowl with the chard. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat well. Stir in the pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

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