I know I only made a whole roast cauliflower the other day (as a curry), but I couldn’t resist testing out my idea for a chermoula cauliflower for Sunday lunch today to celebrate the last day of #meatfreeweek. It was lovely! I’ve included the recipe for the chermoula spice paste and how to preserve lemons. Although you can now get preserved lemons in most supermarkets, you will probably find it best to learn to preserve your own once you too get hooked on this addictive stuff. Liz x
Start by tipping a tin of tomatoes and a tin of water into a small, deep roasting dish. Add a couple of handfuls of chopped dates and some sliced red onion. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. If you like, add a tbsp of Harissa for an extra spice kick.
Then prepare the cauliflower by pulling off all the leaves and slicing off the stalk at the base. Put the prepped cauli on top of the tomato and date stew base. Then get on with the chermoula paste.
Chermoula is an incredibly tasty, North African, spicy paste. There are countless variations around, but the key flavours are from the preserved lemon, chilli and spices. Blitz up this red chermoula paste in a small food processor/blender. Or if you don’t have one, you can crush the spices with a pestle and morter, finely dice the lemon, crush the garlic and mix in a bowl.
- 1 large (or two small) preserved lemon
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- Fresh red chillies, to taste
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil to bring it together, about 2 or 3 tbsp will do
Then smear the paste thickly over the trimmed cauliflower. Sprinkle with a few more cumin seeds and bake for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of your cauliflower. Serve sliced wedges on cous cous with the tomato and date stew spooned over it, cumin roast parsnips and carrots, salad…etc! I made a quick tahini, yogurt and pomegranate molasses sauce too. A deliciously different Sunday roast!
And here’s how to preserve your own lemons. It’s very easy! You will need…
- A tall sterilised jar or two
- As many unwaxed lemons as you can squeeze into them
- A tbsp of salt for each lemon
- Chillies and herbs (optional)
- Olive oil
Slice a deep cross into each lemon so they are almost in quarters, keeping them intact at the base. Stuff 1 tbsp of salt into each lemon and squish them down into the jar. Try and fit them in as tightly as possible. Use the back of the tablespoon to squash them down and get those juices flowing. Put the lid on and leave it for a week. Give the jar the occasional shake. After a week put in a whole red chilli and a sprig of Rosemary or thyme, or a couple of bay leaves. The lemons will have released most of their juices but top them up with a little more lemon juice if necessary and then about a cm layer of olive oil. Lid back on and leave to preserve for another 3 weeks before using.