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If you have never had fried cauliflower, you are missing out. My Nana used to make it, just dusted in flower and pan fried. I used to eat it with ketchup when I was a kid! It was delicious. Years later, as an adult, I had fried cauliflower, known as Zahra Mekleyah, again, at a Lebanese friend’s house, then again at a Lebanese restaurant. They traditionally serve it with a delicious Tahini sauce and it is out of this world. Blows ketchup right out of the water!

I have always tried to take fried things I have enjoyed in a restaurant and see if I can make them healthier at home. I still enjoy all the fried stuff when I go out sometimes, but I hate the mess of all the oil splatters in MY kitchen. Yes, I am a neat freak,that is established. My favorite way to get a similar crunchy texture in the oven to frying is either to bake it at
450F, maybe 475F or broil it. These cauliflower, I did the former.

Instead of creating a Tahini dipping sauce, I decided to toss the cauliflower in it after broiling. It was phenomenal. Roberto and I kept saying, the few words that we spoke because we were too busy gobbling this down, through the whole meal that we need to eat this eat least once per week. Oh and did I mention that the cauliflower was from the Farmer’s Market?
Oh, yes, but of course!

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Along with this wonderful cauliflower we made bruschetta with delicious farm fresh tomatoes, also from the market. The Bruschetta is Roberto’s recipe and made the Roman way -with crispy bread and warm tomatoes. It was really really good. I would not recommend making this unless you have really good tomatoes, as they are the star of the show.

Here is a little music with your dinner:

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Cauliflower:

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INGREDIENTS:

2 small heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
4 tsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic very finely minced
1/2 cup of Tahini
1-2  lemon, juiced (I used one of my huge meyers, so you might need 2 smaller lemons)
salt & pepper to taste
dash of tabasco (hot sauce)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Za’ atar – a Lebanese spice blend of predominately thyme and sumac
sprinkle of sesame seeds
paprika for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss cauliflower on 2 tsp olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and sesame seeds.
Cook in oven for 25 minutes, then flip and cook for another 10 minutes,  or until browned and fork tender.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a sauce pan. Sautee until aromatic. Stir in other ingredients (tahini, lemon juice, salt & pepper, tabasco, cumin and za’atar) and set aside.

Toss cauliflower in sauce and eat ASAP. This feeds 2 adults as a main meal (with a little leftover).
We had the bruschetta with it.

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Roberto’s Bruschetta

INGREDIENTS:

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nice crusty bread
1 gigantic fresh red tomato
1 TBS good quality olive oil
black lava salt (from Cyprus) – Roberto loves his salt!!! So we have many different varieties to choose from.
dried basil
dried Thyme
pepper

Cut bread in half lengthwise. Drizzle insides with olive oil. Place under broiler for 2 minutes or until lightly golden. In a bowl combine chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper and green herbs. Drizzle with olive oil. Heap tomato topping on top of each half of bread. Place under broiler for another 2 minutes. Serve straightaway.