Roasted Cauliflower with Superspice - Love the Neglected
March 2nd, 2012

Some vegetables are clearly under-represented in my kitchen and I can’t talk my way out of it. We do love our vegetables here, but salads, pumpkins and tomatoes get way more love and affection than others do. Yes, Cauliflower, I’m looking at you.


Ever since I bought that electric coffee grinder the game-plan has changed and not one week goes by without another new spice mix. I create them on the fly, especially when preparing roasted vegetables for a simple lunch or dinner. Of course your fresh vegetables will already taste great, roasted with nothing more than sea salt, pepper and olive oil. On the other hand, if you call an enormous spice collection your own, there is plenty of reason to go the whole nine yards, anyway, with that many spices you should aim at a short turnaround time – otherwise they will lose their powers and turn bland. Wouldn’t that be a shame?

It is just too much fun to play mix and match. I recommend starting with small amounts, until you get the hang of it and feel more confident. Most importantly: Take notes. Nothing’s more frustrating than devouring incredibly flavorful potato wedges and not being able to recreate the used spice mix.

Today’s featured spice mix we call superspice in our kitchen, simply because it transforms almost every kind of vegetable – even the neglected cauliflower – into something highly addictive. It is my first choice for potato wedges, too, and to date it never failed to impress. Just make sure to serve some fresh dip alongside, as it is definitely on the spicy end!

Begin with preparing the spice mix: Adapt seasoning to your liking (use less chili if you prefer it milder) and grind all spices together using either an (electric) coffee/spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Store leftovers in an airtight jar.

Now on to the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 200°C (~390°F) and brush a baking tray with olive oil. Cut cauliflower into quarters, remove the core with a knife, then cut into bite-size florets and rinse under cold water. Distribute on a clean tea towel to pad dry. The best way to get the cauliflower florets evenly spiced requires a large bowl with a lid: Add the florets to the bowl, drizzle with at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the spice mix, 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, close the lid and shake until evenly covered. Spread on the greased baking tray (cut surface down ensures a nice crisp crust) and roast for about 25 to 30 minutes on middle level, until the cauliflower is done and has gained a nice brown crust (turn once, after the bottom side has already gained some color).

Meanwhile prepare a quick dip: season Quark/curd or Greek yogurt with some salt and pepper, a little olive oil and a handful fresh herbs (cress or cilantro are a good choice).

Once the roasted cauliflower is done, remove from the oven. Arrange in a bowl, add some herbed dip, maybe an extra drizzle of olive oil, some fresh herbs for eye candy and serve.

Roasted cauliflower with superspice

Recipe source: own creation

Prep time: ~45 minutes

Ingredients (for 2):

Superspice (spice mix):

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp black sesame seeds

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp Jalapeno chili (dried flakes, optional)

2 small dried chiles

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp turmeric (ground)

Roasted cauliflower:

olive oil

1 head of cauliflower

~3 tbsp superspice

~3 tbsp breadcrumbs

serve with a quick dip: season 200 g Quark/curd or Greek yogurt with sea salt, black pepper, olive oil and fresh herbs (e.g. cress or cilantro)

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