Grilled Cauliflower with Eggplant Jam and Tahini Sauce
Inspired by our recent visit to Kazbah in Balmain, this Grilled Cauliflower dish is an absolute stunner and probably one that I would go back for every time. My healthied up version requires no deep frying and is served with a little pomegranate flavour pop.
We’ve recently taken up the hobby of brunching on weekends. I guess it’s part of our eat well 90 per cent of the time, indulge in the other 10. Matt calls it his 80/20. You get the idea, right? But I digress.
Sydney has so much to offer in terms of diversity of flavours, eating styles and weekend indulgences. We’ve decided that confining ourselves to the four corners of our kitchen on weekends, while comfortable because we can enjoy breaky in PJs, is not really a food explorers’ agenda. The kids have been having fun with it too – Zac recently discovered he actually likes eggs now, and there isn’t much he doesn’t like.
Every other weekend we treat ourselves to a little drive and a brunch date, just the two of us. Just before Matt left for the US two weeks ago we decided to take up the invitation to Kazbah and visit their Balmain restuarant for a spot of lunch. I’ve been there before, attending a blogger brunch a while back when we shared the communal feast.
This time, we ordered a small selection of what sounded like favourites: babaganouj, cauliflower with eggplant jam, selection of sausages – the rose water merguez sausage was a surprising but actually quite a nice flavour and a chicken tagine. The cauliflower was definitely a standout for us and something Matt mentioned could be worth making at home.
I was able to obtain the original recipe from Kazbah but rather than deep frying parts of the dish, I decided to healthy it up and cook it a little differently. The original was by no means ‘greasy’ but I just don’t like wasting copious amounts of good oil for one off deep frying at home.
The dish might look like a lot of work as there are a few case partake components involved, but most require little more than just time. It is lovely served warm with the cauliflower straight from the oven grill, but to be honest, leftovers are just as delish cold the next day.
- 1 small head cauliflower (600g)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant (350g)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ small onion, peeled and diced finely
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup tahini (I used unhulled)
- 200ml water
- ⅛ cup lemon juice
- 1 tbsp natural Greek yoghurt (optional for Paleo version)
- 1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- Dice eggplant into inch-sized cubes. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add onion. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until the onion has become translucent. Add cumin, garlic and stir to coat the onion and for the aromatics to heat. Add eggplant and stir again to coat in the spiced onion mixture. Add water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the mixture reaches a jam consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
- In the meantime prepare the cauliflower and make the Tahini Sauce.
- Preheat an oven grill to 180C (350F).
- Cut cauliflower into florets and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread florets on a baking tray lined with baking paper and grill for 20-25 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking, or until the florets are nicely brown and in some places blackened.
- Whisk all ingredients until smooth sauce consistency. Store in a jar until needed. The sauce will keep for up to a week (depending on your yoghurt use by date). It's great for roast veg, salads, grilled meats.
- Spread the eggplant jam on a serving platter. Top with grilled cauliflower florets. Drizzle over some of the tahini sauce and sprinkle the lot with toasted pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.