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 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.
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.
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!
Za’atar and Sumac Cauliflower with Meyer Lemon Whipped Ricotta
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
- 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
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- 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.
- 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.
- While cauliflower is roasting, make the dressing by squeezing the juice out of one lemon and mix with pomegranate molasses.
- 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)
- In a separate bowl, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, Greek yogurt and salt/pepper for whipped ricotta.
- Either vigorously whisking by hand (a perfect arm workout!), or using an electric mixer, whip until ricotta mixture is light and fluffy.
- Spoon onto a serving bowl, sprinkle with sumac and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Cut the bottoms off endive. Look for 20 nice big spears. Save the unused smaller spears and use them in your next mixed salad.
- Spoon as much chilled cauliflower salad as you can to each endive spear and serve with whipped ricotta.
- Bon appetite!
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.