Local cauliflower is at its best this time of year, as it and fellow brassicas like cabbage and Brussels sprouts supplant summer’s tomatoes and corn. For this ingenious tabbouleh recipe, Boulud Sud chef Aaron Chambers substitutes the crunchy crucifer for the traditional bulgur wheat, then gives the Middle Eastern salad an additional kick with citrusy za’atar spices and figs.
Aaron Chambers’s Cauliflower Tabbouleh
2 heads cauliflower
5 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, minced
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup dried barberries (or chopped golden raisins)
5 dried figs, finely chopped
5 dried apricots, finely chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 1/2 tbs. za’atar spice
3 tbs. parsley leaves, chopped
2 tbs. mint leaves, chopped
3 tbs. cilantro leaves, chopped
(1) Trim the florets from the cauliflower and discard stalks and stems. (2) Place florets in a food processor, and pulse until finely minced and approximately the size of couscous. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat; add garlic and onion, and sauté until translucent. Add the cauliflower, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cauliflower should be just barely cooked. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl, and add barberries, figs, and apricots. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, remaining olive oil, and za’atar spice. (3) No more than 1 hour before serving, add the lemon dressing, parsley, mint, and cilantro to the cauliflower, and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 6.