After the extremely harsh winter, my vegetable patch is just about starting to come to life. I am so happy to see little sapling making their way out of the ground. This year I have had mixed luck – my eggplant seeds, squash seeds, and watermelon seeds just seem to have been lost in the dirt (haven’t sprouted or they’ve been eaten by the ubiquitous rabbits, squirrels and birds in my yard). But the pea shoots, radishes, cucumbers, tomato and Romanesco seem to be doing well. As soon as I see the fresh green vegetables come above the ground, I feel inspired to make some new recipes so I can use fresh greens available to me.
Today I tried to use the pea shoots in a warm salad that had very classic Mediterranean flavors. I roasted the Cauliflower florets in the oven and then added Za’atar powder, freshly ground coriander seeds, lemon juice, lemon zest, capers and dill weed. Since the pea shoots are so delicate, I didn’t cook them at all but they got wilted by the heat of the roasted cauliflower. I added some boiled chickpeas to give the salad some body and also a bit of a protein kick. This way, the salad is a complete nutritionally balanced and flavorful meal in itself. For those trying to follow a low-carb or low sugar diet, this would be an ideal lunch dish. Although I didn’t follow any of Yottam Ottolenghi’s recipes here, as my daughter and I were eating this salad for lunch, we realized that it could well have been inspired by the flavor profiles that Ottolenghi favors.
1. One small head of cauliflower
2. A cup of fresh pea shoots (or any other young green leaves)
3. 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4. 1 fresh lemon
5. Salt and pepper to taste
6. 1.5 tablespoons of freshly ground coriander powder
7. A cup of boiled chickpeas (or one can)
8. A handful of fresh dill weed
9. 2 teaspoons of Za’atar powder
10. 2 tablespoons of small sized capers
1. Wash the head of cauliflower and cut it into small bite-sized florets. Using a few paper towels dry out all the florets and spread them on a large cookie sheet.
2. When the florets are completely dry, sprinkle about one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over them and mix everything with your hands so that the oil gets spread all over florets.
3. Heat the oven at 350 Fahrenheit.
4. Place the cookie sheet with the florets in the oven and let the cauliflower roast. Set the timer at 7-8 minutes.
5. While the cauliflower is getting roasted, zest one lemon using a microplane and place the zest in a bowl.
6. After 7-8 minutes, take the cookie sheet out of the oven and turn the florets over and then roast for another 5-6 minutes.
7. Combine the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl: The zest of the lemon, Za’atar powder, salt, pepper, coriander powder, juice of the lemon, 1.5-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, chopped up dill weed and the capers (take the liquid out of them)