Chargrilled romanesco salad

Chargrilled Romanesco Salad Recipe
  • Side
  • easy
  • 4
  • 40 minutes, plus 30 minutes marinating time (optional)

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I am an ardent lover of cauliflower. And as a veggie lover who sidelines as a mathematician, a mathematical cauliflower is an extra special thing. Enter the Romanesque cauliflower (also known as Romanesco or Romanesco broccoli), a beautiful example of a Fibonacci fractal in the natural world, with buds arranged in an enchanting logarithmic spiral. And a special vegetable like this requires special treatment.

Romanesque cauliflower has a flavour and texture pretty close to that of regular cauliflower, so I drew on my existing cauliflower know-how for inspiration. Yotam Ottolenghi has a recipe for Chargrilled Cauilflower with Tomatoes, Dill and Capers that I adore. In particular, I love the effect of chargrilling the cauliflower, which has the same crisp, caramel-like appeal of roasted cauliflower, but is fresher and lighter because the cauliflower gets steamed before chargrilling, and is then tossed with a light vinaigrette while still warm. This salad gets the same chargrilling treatment, but instead of tomatoes (far too summery for this time of year), I added raisins, red onion and dill, plus a splash of sherry vinegar and a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds.

It’s a strange combination of ingredients but it works really well. For a complete meal, you could could add some chickpeas, cooked quinoa or even fish (good quality tinned tuna is actually fantastic with this and makes for an easy lunch).

I use a little honey in the dressing but you could easily use maple syrup or agave for a vegan salad. This salad ticks the gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb boxes, too.

1
Whisk the honey with the sherry vinegar then toss with the onions, raisins and a pinch of salt. If you have time, leave this mixture for 30 minutes or so to give the raisins a chance to plump up and the onions a chance to soften
2
Cut the Romanesque cauliflower into florets and steam for about 4 minutes, so that its tender but still has a crisp bite to it
Romanesco cauliflower
3
Meanwhile, heat up a grill pan (or your outdoor barbecue) on a high heat. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil then grill, turning occasionally, so that it gets nice black crispy bits on all sides
Charred Romanesco cauliflower
4
Place the chargrilled cauliflower in a bowl and toss with the vinegar-onion-raisin mixture. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Add more olive oil if you’d like. Serve the salad sprinkled with sliced almonds and dill
Romanesco cauliflower salad
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