Za’atar and Sumac Cauliflower with Meyer Lemon Whipped Ricotta

I was going to wait for our upcoming Brazil trip to write my first food blog because I wanted the “first blog post” be something extravagant and exotic. I forgot how multicultural Canada is. One doesn’t need to travel far and wide for an eclectic experience.

We spent a weekend getaway in Montreal to unwind and celebrate an important milestone in my life!

Montreal 2015 (12 of 55).jpg

Montreal is not unfamiliar to us, but since we had a lot of time our hands, I went HAM on looking for the best Montreal food experience. Besides food, we were here to admire the beauty of the Notre-Dame Basilica! The breathtaking deep blue ceiling decorated with golden stars, and stained glass rose windows.

Montreal 2015 (38 of 55)Montreal 2015 (39 of 55)

What I love more is the European charm of Old Montreal. Walking on the cobblestone road, dazzled with the artisanal boutique stores, I thought I was in Europe for a second.

We enjoyed a simple yet exquisite brunch at Olive & Gourmando. This is where I had the “aha”-moment that I want to contribute my first blog post to the culinary inspiration I got from Montreal.

Montreal 2015 (28 of 55)

O+g’s Housemade Ricotta “salty” motivated me to be here writing. That a good dish doesn’t have to use fancy ingredients, cauliflower can be the star of the dish!

Montreal 2015 (36 of 55)


Za’atar and Sumac Cauliflower with Meyer Lemon Whipped Ricotta

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Cauliflower salad:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed into florets, approximately 4-6 cups
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon slow roasted garlic in olive oil, or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder (optional, my boy loves his garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 2 heads of endives, use the large leaves only (can omit and just serve the salad on a plate)
  • 3 to 4 leaves Frisee (also known as curly endive, chicory, curly chicory), roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground mixed peppercorn (I like to use mixed color peppercorn for added flavour) and sea-salt to taste

Meyer lemon whipped ricotta:

  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cup ricotta cheese (for full flavor, don’t skim out on the fat)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • Freshly ground pepper and sea-salt to taste
  • Pinch of sumac
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Directions:

Cauliflower Salad:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Trim and cut cauliflower to small florets and season with za’atar, sumac, roasted garlic (or not), olive oil, and generous amount of freshly ground pepper and sea-salt.

Tuna Tartare and Cauliflower 11-20-2015 (2 of 10)

  1. Spread seasoned cauliflowers florets to a single layer on a tray and roast until soft and slightly browned. Tossing them once or twice to ensure even cooking. This will take 25 to 30 min depends on the size of florets.
  2. While cauliflower is roasting, make the dressing by squeezing the juice out of one lemon and mix with pomegranate molasses.
  3. Chill the cauliflower to room temperature before mixing in the chopped frisee. (Cauliflowers can be prepared up to a day ahead of time and kept in fridge before serving)

Whipped Ricotta

  1. In a separate bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, Greek yogurt and salt/pepper for whipped ricotta.
  2. Either vigorously whisking by hand (a perfect arm workout!), or using an electric mixer, whip until ricotta mixture is light and fluffy.

Tuna Tartare and Cauliflower 11-20-2015 (3 of 10)

  1. Spoon onto a serving bowl, sprinkle with sumac and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Assembly:

  1. Cut the bottoms off endive. Look for 20 nice big spears. Save the unused smaller spears and use them in your next mixed salad.
  2. Spoon as much chilled cauliflower salad as you can to each endive spear and serve with whipped ricotta.
  3. Bon appetite!

Tuna Tartare and Cauliflower 11-20-2015 (10 of 10)

P.S. there will be tons of leftover ricotta. Whipped ricotta makes a luscious spread on toast for morning breakfast or as a second appetizer to your dinner.

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