Ginger + Cauliflower
I am definitely on a roasted ginger kick. I'm pretty sure it will be in every dish I make for the next month, and there may be only one item without roasted ginger on our thanksgiving table - the turkey. But wait. Blended roasted ginger rubbed under the skin of a heritage turkey?! Be still my heart. Truly, I'll try to keep it to just one roasted ginger dish at thanksgiving - this butternut squash platter. BUT, thanksgiving isn't the only day when my family needs to eat, and I love to keep the surrounding days as healthy and clean as possible (a strategy my dad never agrees with, but you can't please 'em all). He asks loudly, "but why are we eating grass", and I've learned that sometimes, I just have to order him a pizza so the rest of us can eat our vegan (and delicious) meal in peace.
I went to the store for romanesco, with a unctuous tahini dish in mind, but alas - no romanesco. But a row of multicolor cauliflower beamed down at me, and a new, sweet, funky, and gingery idea came to be. This cauliflower dish sports a ton of char, and is tossed in a sweet and hot ginger sauce. I like to blanch the cauliflower quickly and then toss it in ice water, so the cauliflower keeps its color. I then char the cauliflower in a cast-iron pan, and finish in the oven for the perfect tenderness. All in all, this takes about an hour to make, but is mostly hands off.
3 medium heads of cauliflower - 1 purple, 1 yellow, 1 white
kosher salt, black pepper
2 ginger root (unpeeled, uncut)
10 cloves peeled garlic
2 valencia oranges
¼ cup vegan mayo
½ tsp salt
¼ cup mirin
Aleppo or Marash chile flake
Preheat the oven to 425. Place both ginger root in oven on top rack. Set timer for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, place cloves of garlic in small saucepan. Just cover garlic with olive oil and bring to a boil, then quickly reduce to lowest heat and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes to create your garlic confit.
Cut cauliflower into medium size florets. A little variation in size is OK. Pour three glugs of olive oil into cast iron pan, and bring to piping hot. Place cauliflower florets into the pan in a single layer (may have to do in two batches), and let sit, undisturbed for 4 minutes (until slightly charred on one side). Toss with a spatula, and use oven mitts to place the pan into the oven. Set timer for 10 minutes.
Remove ginger and peel with a knife or peeler. Place pieces of ginger with 3 cloves of garlic confit in the blender with 1/4 cup of the garlic oil you've created. Add remaining ingredients and blend into a smooth sauce.
Remove cauliflower from oven, and toss with a spatula in the pan. Place in oven for 7-10 more minutes, until just tender, but still with a good firmness - not mushy. Times may vary depending on how large the florets have been cut.
Divide sauce equally into two bowls. and top with cauliflower. Sprinkle with chile flake. Serves 2 as an appetizer, or as an entree when served with a grain.