Friday, March 4, 2016

My Paris Kitchen: Dukkah-Roasted Cauliflower

I'll admit, I wasn't overly enthusiastic about cooking this week's Cook the Book Fridays selection so early in our time with My Paris Kitchen. I've only made a handful of recipes prior to the group starting, and this was one of them. Instead of making my own dukkah, or "Egyptian Spiced Nut Mix," I'd used a jar of Trader Joe's version. It was disgusting. I immediately threw out the jar.

I knew full well that the flaw last time around was with the jar of dukkah I used, not with any of Lebovitz's instructions, but still, my excitement was low. This time, I followed his recipe to make my own. Sort of. I thought I had some of the ingredients--sesame seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds--but I must have finished them before we moved from Italy, or they got lost somewhere between Naples and Virginia. I used ground cumin, and omitted the sesame and the fennel, though I can absolutely see this would be even better if I'd had them. I also followed his variation and used toasted almonds instead of hazelnut, because I have a big Costco-sized bag of them in my fridge.

Because I am a lazy mortar and pestler, there were some almost-whole chunks of almond left behind. These were delicious, fished right out of the mortar. I gave one to Charlie, and he said, "Wow, you're right. That IS tasty." This is of particular note, because he doesn't like nuts. I wished I'd been even lazier with my grinding, because I wanted more nut chunks to pick at.
Once the dukkah was made, it was an easy job of roasting the cauliflower and tossing the nut mix on halfway through.

Unfortunately, I over-salted my cauliflower. The pork chops I made were also too salty, so I liked this less, the more I ate. I'm aware this was my problem, and not the recipe's. I've made myself a  note to go easy on the salt next time.

I also sampled the dukkah by dipping some nice seedy bread in beautiful olive oil that I brought home from Puglia, then dipping it in the mix. Honestly, I preferred it straight up like this, rather than on the cauliflower, where the toasty flavors were lost in the salt (again, my fault).
Conclusion: For the Dukkah, liked it. I definitely want to try it again with all of the ingredients. I really think those sesame seeds would have contributed a lot. For the Dukkah-roasted Cauliflower, for now, I'd say Just Okay. Both times I've made this, the problem has been mine. Still, I'm not especially interested in making it again.

20 comments:

  1. Thank you for the PSA on the TJ Dukkah! I think I am going to have to try dipping my vegetables in some of my leftover dukkah. I need a change up from my normal radish/ carrot/ hummus routine...

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  2. Ugh, I hate it when I do something like oversalting the dish. It's especially annoying because there is nobody else to be annoyed with. If you do try this again, I seem to recall that you own the book Jerusalem, which also has a great dukkah recipe and then a delicious pumpkin side which they sprinkle it over. Might be more up your alley than cauliflower.

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    1. Ooh, I'll give the pumpkin a try. I have quite a bit of dukkah leftover, and no real plan for how to use it.

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  3. I definitely think that home made is the way to go here. And so many uses for it!

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  4. I agree, homemade was the way to go! I am already thinking of ways to use the leftover dukkah. I have to try the it with olive oil and bread...sounds very nice!

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  5. Oh, over-salting is such a disappointment! I love homemade spice mixes and this one was no exception. I'm looking forward to trying it as a dip and there are so many other ways to use it.

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  6. I would love to try the dipping version, I love Italian bread dipped in oil with S&P, but adding the dukkar should really
    be great.

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  7. I tend to leave salt out of my cooking because I oversalt everything and feel most people do not like as much as I do- so I bet I would have loved your dish- I have never found anything too salty!! I love the idea of the bread, also a dip or on chicken- so many choices

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  8. The dukkah is really nice. Sorry to hear about your over-salting. I would love to try the dukkah as a dip!

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  9. Next I am going to try the dukkah as a dip and dukkah coat salmon! Homemade is so easy now that we know how!

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  10. Next I am going to try the dukkah as a dip and dukkah coat salmon! Homemade is so easy now that we know how!

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  11. I'm glad you gave this recipe a second try and the second time was more of a success. I am a lazy grinder too...lazy grinders unite!

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  12. I'm glad you gave this recipe a second try and the second time was more of a success. I am a lazy grinder too...lazy grinders unite!

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  13. That is good to know about the Trader Joe's dukkah. I could see myself thinking it's so easy to make it on my own, but hey, I'll buy it anyway. Now? No thanks. What a bummer the recipe hasn't worked for you twice. And even knowing it was something on your end, I can see myself thinking there is just something about the recipe that isn't meshing for me. And over-salted food is the worst. Ugh. On the bright side, we're done with it now! :) Really, though, the dukkah is so nice on its own with bread and olive oil, I agree!

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  14. I have to try it on its own! I liked it but I think it would have tasted better with nuts, my children are allergic so I tried to imagine what the roasting nuts would have added to the taste. It's hard to get going when your heart isn't in it, I'm making matcha financiers I'm not keen on for another group and feel exactly like you about this recipe!

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  15. Although I didn't think the Dukkah from Trader Joe's was disgusting (I actually didn't even know about Dukkah or how to use it when I spotted it in TJ's - a new product.) But there must be some reason that most of it is still sitting in the jar in my pantry! I made Dukkah from the River Cottage Veg cookbook and it was very tasty but David's is so much more flavorful. Whether you ever use it on cauliflower or not again is okay but incorporating it into your bag of flavor tricks is a good thing.

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  16. The first time I had dukkah it was from Trader Joe's. I thought it was OK (not fabulous) when I first opened the jar, but it didn't keep well and was rancid the second time I used it. Ugh. DL's version was much tastier. Along with my second making of the cauliflower, we also dipped bread in oil and dukkah. I AM HOOKED.

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