Two Middle Eastern Salads – Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts


Both from the lovely Middle Eastern cookbook “Olives, Lemons & Za’atar” by Rawia Bishara. The brussels sprouts come with crispy fried panko and a yogurt-tahini-pomegranate sauce, the cauliflower boasts a similar sauce and comes with parsley. Their dressings are indeed similar, but different enough to serve together, maybe with some Arab flat bread and spreads, olives?

I for one have overcome my fear of (deep-)frying when I made some lovely fried green tomatoes this weekend. Said fear was mostly rooted in smell concerns, as we have neither a kitchen door nor an exhaust hood and we all know how frying smells tend to linger and creep into your clothes (even the ones you’re not wearing). However, with the advent of spring I can leave the entirety of our windows open from start to finish and then another 12 hours after, which usually does the trick. And it just produces some lovely results – how perfectly golden brown is my cauliflower exactly? (“Lovely” again, huh? Yes, I have been watching a lot of the Great British Baking Show lately.)

Anyway, let’s get to it. We’ll start by making a basic tahini sauce.

125ml tahini (sesame paste)
1 large garlic clove
juice of 1-2 lemons
1/3 tsp salt

Combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt in food processor, blend for two minutes on low speed.     Turn speed to high until mixture begins to whiten.     Gradually add water until you reach your desired consistency (thick enough to coat a spoon, but still smooth; not too runny).

For the Cauliflower Salad (2-3 servings)

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-2 in florets
vegetable oil for frying
125ml tahini sauce (we just made that, yay!)
30ml pomegranate molasses
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

Place cauliflower in large saucepan and cover with water.     Bring water to boil and cook for 2 minutes.     Drain.     Place somewhat less than 1 inch of oil in a frying pan over high heat.     When hot, fry cauliflower until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.     Transfer to kitchen paper to drain.     Arrange on serving dish, drizzle with tahini sauce, pomegranate molasses and then add your parsley.

For the Brussels Sprouts with Panko (2-3 servings)

1lb brussel sprouts, prepared and cut in half
vegetable oil for frying
75ml tahini sauce (already made!)
75ml plain yogurt
3/4 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
3/4 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
30g panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
pinch of salt

Pour oil on large frying pan, about 1/2in, and place over high heat.     When hot, fry brussels sprouts until they are browned all over.     Transfer to kitchen paper to drain.     Whisk together tahini sauce, yogurt and pomegranate molasses.     Heat olive oil in small frying pan over medium-high heat.     When hot, sauté garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.     Add panko and stir constantly until golden brown (about 2 minutes).     Sprinkle in salt and remove from heat.     Place brussels sprouts in serving dish, drizzle with sauce & top with panko.