There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than the gathering of my favourite people to share a wonderful homecooked meal together and there’s no one who does it better than my brother Mark. Whenever he’s in town, a feast is always in store. He loves to cook, feed, and entertain, all the necessary ingredients for a delicious, memorable dinner party. Whether it’s a for 4, 8 or 10, he can whip up a spread so effortlessly he never ceases to amaze me. His secret? It’s always a formula of one main protein, a carb, and several veggie sides. As a partaker in many of his fantastic feasts, I can tell you that it is a formula that works. Now all you need is a little creativity and tried and tested recipes. As my Mom once told us, never attempt a new recipe at a dinner party!
This gorgeous Roasted Cauliflower with Arugula and Toasted Pistachio Salad was one of the sides Mark made for our Memorial Day weekend feast and it dared to steal the spotlight from the Spicy Lobster Pasta. Yes, throw away any prejudices you might have against the cauliflower because it stood tall in our dinner spread and some might even argue that almost shone over the lobster by just a hair. Almost, I said. The Cauliflower is undoubtedly the star of the dish, roasted until its edges are a crispy, golden brown giving it a wonderful caramelised flavour. It pairs beautifully with the arugula and the toasted, nutty pistachio. It’s so good it might just have your carnivores reaching past the grilled hanger steak for extra heaping servings like it did the other night.
Here’s the best part. It’s incredibly simple. So simple that this is barely a recipe, more of a rough guide which you can tweak and build on. You can add pomegranate seeds, toasted walnuts or pine nuts instead of pistachio, spinach along with the arugula, etc. Make sure to season the cauliflower generously before roasting because the olive oil that gathers at the bottom becomes the tasty dressing to bind everything together. And when it all comes together on your serving platter, make sure to pile it high. It will make for a prettier looking dish. Oh yes, it does, Mark, yes it does.
Roasted Cauliflower with Arugula and Toasted Pistachios
As a side, it feeds up to 8
What you need:
2 heads cauliflower
Salt and Pepper
1/3 cup cup pistachio
1-2 handfuls of arugula
What to do:
1. Toast the pistachios in a dry skillet for a few minutes until it gives off a toasty fragrance. Take off the heat and set aside. Roughly chop into smaller pieces once cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 420°F.
3. Prepare the cauliflower by separating into florets. Roughly chop the stems into 2″ long pieces. Keep the leaves as well.
4. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread out cauliflower (florets, stems and leaves) and drizzle generously with olive oil. Use 2 baking sheets if there isn’t enough room for all the pieces to spread out on one layer.
5. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and ground pepper.
6. Roast for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and crispy.
7. Place cauliflower into a serving dish including the oil at the bottom of the pan. Add arugula and toasted pistachio.
8. Mix well, pile high, and serve.