This is a different way to offer cauliflower as an appetizer or with the main meal. The combination of the lightly fried florets with the tangy tahini sauce is delicious. The cauliflower can be fried early in the day. Refrigerate loosely covered until needed. Reheat at 400° for 5-7 minutes. Serve as directed. The tahini sauce can be prepared up to 3 days in advance. Recipe courtesy Classic Lebanese Cuisine.
FOR THE CAULIFLOWER
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 lbs)
- canola oil (for frying)
FOR THE TAHINI SAUCE
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 cup tahini (mix well before using)
- 1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄4 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, use green leafy parts and tender stems
- *** TO PREPARE THE CAULIFLOWER ***.
- Place a large pot with 8 cups water and the salt over high heat. Cover and bring to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, remove all the leaves from around the stem of the cauliflower. Cut the florets off the central stem into 2- 3-inch pieces, keeping them consistent in size.
- Place the florets in the boiling water. Return the water to a rolling boil and cook uncovered, stirring a couple of times, for 5 minutes. Drain, then evenly spread the florets over a flat tray and cool for 30 minutes uncovered. The steamed florets must cool prior to frying or they will fall apart.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat to 375°, using a candy/fry thermometer for accuracy. The oil should be about 1 1/2" deep. Fry 4 to 5 florets at a time until golden brown and the edges are crispy. Remove them with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined dish. Make sure the temperature of the oil remains at 375° so that the florets fry evenly. Fry the remaining pieces of cauliflower. If you prefer, you can serve the cauliflower steamed.
- *** TO PREPARE THE TAHINI SAUCE ***.
- In a small bowl, mash the garlic and salt to a pulp using a pestle. Add the tahini, lemon juice and water. Whisk until smooth and creamy; the consistency will be like pancake batter.
- Use a spoon to mix in the parsley. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Tahini sauce may thicken once refrigerated. Thin it with lemon juice or water.
- TO SERVE *** Place the tahini sauce in a small bowl in the center of the platter. Arrange the warm or room-temperature cauliflower around the tahini.