CAULIFLOWER with GREEN GODDESS TAHINI

What is it about those luscious green sauces — chimichurri, pesto, green goddess? I can’t get enough. If I’m having steak, I usually hanker for chimichurri. Sliced tomatoes cry out for just a dab of fresh pesto. And Alice Waters sparked my obsession with green goddess  — for eggs, potatoes, leafy greens, even roast chicken. If you’re wondering, here are the comparative stats:

Chimichurri: parsley, garlic, shallots, chili pepper flakes, oregano, olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Pesto: basil, garlic, pine nuts, pecorino, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Green goddess: parsley, chives, tarragon, mint, garlic, mayonnaise, buttermilk, anchovies, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

I’d seen cauliflower served with tahini before, but something about serving beige on beige food goes against my deepest convictions. That’s how green goddess tahini was born. Fortunately, it also tastes pretty swell.

IMG_8427

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER with GREEN GODDESS TAHINI, SPICY PEANUTS & MINT  

for 5-6 generous servings:
1/2 cup of peanuts, shells removed
green goddess tahini (below)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 head of cauliflower
2 cups of canola oil*
handful of small mint leaves
lemon, for zesting
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Crush the peanuts with the bottom of a cup. Toast the peanuts until golden brown and toss them with the chili powder and paprika. Prepare the green goddess tahini (below) and set it aside.

Break the cauliflower down into small florets. Make sure the cauliflower is dry. Heat the canola oil in a high-rimmed pot until at least 350. Fry the cauliflower until nicely golden brown, avoiding crowding. Transfer to a platter lined with a paper towel. Repeat in batches until all the cauliflower is fried. *Alternatively, if you prefer not to fry the cauliflower, drizzle the florets with extra virgin olive oil and roast them on a baking sheet in a 425 degree oven until golden brown and crisp. To serve, spread some of the green goddess tahini on the bottom of a plate, spoon cauliflower over it, and finish with a sprinkling of peanuts, mint leaves, and freshly zested lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

for the green goddess tahini:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup tahini (or more to taste)
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
handful of fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2-3 anchovy filtets (optional)
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a blender or food processor, puree the first 10 ingredients. Add olive oil to reach the desired consistency. Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. *The mayo and buttermilk can be substituted with plain greek yogurt.

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