Braised saffron cauliflower, crumbled feta, steamed kasha and pickled vegetable salad
Photo by Tam West
The fried kasha topping gives an appetising crunch and toasted flavour to this dish. For a vegetarian dinner party, try my Indian spiced tomato and coconut soup as a starter, and finish with biancomangiare and apple and rhubarb compote for dessert.
Kasha and cauliflower
To make the salad
Put the onion, carrots, capsicum, fennel, radishes, vinegar, salt and sugar into a non-reactive bowl and reserve for 20 minutes. Just before needed, add the beans, oil and cos leaves and mix well.
To make kasha and cauliflower
- Heat the oven to 190C.
- Drop the cauliflower into a large saucepan of well salted water and simmer 15 minutes or until it is tender when a skewer is inserted into the middle. Drain well.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan over moderate heat and add the onions, garlic, lemon peel and fennel seeds. Fry gently, without browning for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft.
- Add the saffron mixture and the wine and turn the heat up and let it bubble for 30 seconds.
- Add the stock and lemon juice and bring to the boil.
- Pour into an ovenproof casserole and place the cauliflower in the middle. Spoon the onion and stock mix over the cauliflower until well basted.
- With the cauliflower stalk end down, cover and place in the oven for 40 minutes, uncovering and basting frequently then recovering.
- Meanwhile, cook the kasha which is like cooking rice. Place 1 cup of the kasha into a saucepan and add enough water to come 1½ cm above the level of the kasha. Bring to a rolling boil then move to your smallest stove element, cover and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Cook without uncovering for any reason for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and without uncovering, allow to stand for 5 minutes.
- Uncover and gently fluff up the kasha with a fork. Cover and reserve.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Add the remaining ¼ cup of kasha and stir-fry until golden brown. Cool on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Reserve.
- Serve the cauliflower cut into relaxed wedges, with onions and liquid on the kasha with feta and fried kasha sprinkled on top