2.2.11

Cauliflower Salad

Oh MY. I don't know if I have it in me right now to do an entire blog post about salads in Israel, because it is an enormous topic. Salads are everywhere. No meal (especially breakfast!) in Israel is complete without the ubiquitous chopped salad of, in it's purest form, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions with lemon juice and olive oil. Falafel, shnitzel and shawarma (three of Israel's most popular street foods) are usually served in fluffy pita with hummus, and the consumer can choose from dozens of little salads to stuff in their sandwich. 
Cabbage salads, fried eggplant, pickled vegetables...the possibilities are endless and really vary from place to place. But let it be said. I've collectively spent nearly a year in Israel and can think of one meal that didn't include salads. (At a wonderful French restaurant in Tel Aviv) 
Both kibbutzim where I volunteered served a variety of salads for every meal. This cauliflower salad was served quite often with dinner on my more recent kibbutz, and it was one of my favorites. It is as simple as can be and tastes incredible. We always ate it as a cold salad, but I'm sure it would be lovely warm as well.
Working in the kitchen...probably about 6:30 am...not looking great
 I worked in the kitchen and on days where we made the salad, I often was the one to prep all the cauliflower. In those days, I was like a cauliflower prepping machine! I would have to separate a dozen or so crates of cauliflower into little florets, drop them into a large tub of cold water, cling film the top, and wheel it into one of the large walk-in fridges so our chefs could use it later in the day. When I did cauliflower, I always hoped it would be for this salad. It's so good! 
Cauliflower Salad

Okay, as I sit here chowing down on this salad, I implore you; if you make any of my recipes, make this one!! It was fun to revisit. And I really enjoyed the confused/slightly judgemental look on my cat's little face as I broke down the stalk of the cauliflower and pushed it down the garbage disposal.... Animals must think humans are so weird.
Also, a few notes....
The photo above will look slightly different from your final product, since I added the tahina after photographing and uploading it, just because I am absent minded and honestly couldn't be bothered to set up the camera and take a billion pictures of the cauliflower and then upload them all and choose the best one...I just couldn't do it again.  I'm sorry.
Don't be afraid of parsley! In Israel, it is used as an ingredient, not a garnish. It really stands out in this dish.
On my kibbutz, the cauliflower was put in a deep fryer. If you randomly have one, go ahead and fry them there! In that case, you don't need to slice them in half. 
Finally, I gave sort of loosey goosey instructions on making the tahina, because it's really to taste. Also, you won't use it all. Just spoon it on and make sure the tahina coats the cauliflower. Any leftovers can be used as salad dressing, eaten with pita, over meat...really anything. It's delicious.

Ingredients
One head of cauliflower, separated into florets and sliced in half  
Oil
1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Tahini paste
A handful of parsley, chopped
Water

Preparation

In a large pan, pour enough oil so that half your cauliflower will be covered. Heat the oil and then add half the cauliflower. Fry until it's soft, brown and the stems are translucent. Drain on a paper towel and add the other half. Do the same thing. 
Season the fried cauliflower with a little salt, pepper, and some lemon juice. Mix in some of the chopped parsley. Let it cool.
To make a tahini sauce: pour tahini into a food processor and squeeze over half a lemon, some parsley, and your garlic. Pulse and add water until it becomes a thick yet loose, khaki-colored sauce. 
Mix some tahini with the cauliflower and  squeeze over the rest of your lemon. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, but you won't need much. 

!בתאבון

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