Ever since a girls getaway/trip to New York City in March, I’ve been promising my friends to write down a recipe inspired by one of our most memorable bites. A deceptively simple dish — twice-cooked cauliflower — served up at Miznon in Chelsea Market is a masterpiece in florets/brassicas by Chef Eyal Shani. Fork tender, the whole heads sigh open. This time of year, it’s easier to find baby cauliflower at the farmers markets; look for blemish-free, tight heads with crisp florets and fresh leaves. Best served hot out of the oven served with forks for everyone to dig in along with a few dipping sauces, including garlic-lemon tahini, yogurt mixed with harissa, or a bright green zhoug or crushed green chiles and garlic. Any leftovers can be tossed into a salad or omelet or piled onto a sandwich. — Kim Sunée
1 (1 1/2 to 2 pound) head cauliflower or 2 smaller heads
2 tablespoons fine salt (or 2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
For serving, garlic-lemon tahini sauce (recipe below) or zhoug, or harissa mixed with yogurt
• Bring a large pot of water (about two gallons), seasoned with 2 tablespoons salt, to a boil. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Trim bottom of cauliflower so it’s level (makes for easier roasting later) but keep some fresh leaves intact. When water comes to a rapid boil, add head(s) of cauliflower and top with a heat-proof ceramic plate to keep cauliflower submerged in water. When water comes back to a boil, cook cauliflower 10 to 12 minutes or until a knife slides in and out with ease. Drain cauliflower thoroughly (place upside down in a colander in sink) and let cool, at least 10 minutes.
• Line a sheet pan or baking sheet with foil. Pour one tablespoon good olive oil over cauliflower head and rub all over with hands. Repeat with one more tablespoon oil and rub until coated all over. Season with salt and pepper. Place cauliflower, stem side down (trim the bottom so it stands up) on a sheet pan and roast in oven 20 to 30 minutes or until very tender when pierced with a knife tip and brown all over. Remove sheet pan from oven and allow cauliflower to cool just slightly. Serve with sauces and extra lemons or herbs, if desired.
For the garlic-lemon tahini sauce: In a blender or bowl of food processor, pulse together a whole head of raw or pickled garlic (no need to peel) and the juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup; preferably Meyer lemons) until combined; strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing down on solids; discard solids. Rinse out bowl of food processor and add reserved lemon-garlic juice, 1 cup tahini; pinch salt and pepper and blend to combine.
Variation: Add in 1/2 cup toasted almonds or walnuts and 1 jalapeño; blend to combine. Add 1/2 cup cold water and blend until fluffy and light, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons more cold water, as needed. Taste and add more lemon or seasoning. Drizzle in some good extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with flake salt and some chopped toasted almonds or walnuts, if desired.