I have a little trick up my sleeve at the moment: crunchy roasted onion flakes. Do you use them? Years ago I used to keep a jar or two in my food cupboard to throw over dals and rice dishes, but I got out of the habit of doing that, and they pretty much dropped off my radar. But then, a couple of weeks ago, I was looking for gherkins in the Polish aisle of the supermarket, and there, right in front of my face, sat a single packet of roasted onions. I couldn’t resist deviating from the shopping list and throwing them in my basket. I’ve been using a spoonful here and a sprinkling there to add an extra dimension to various things – they’re great as a stand in for cheese on top of pasta or even as an alternative to the satisfying savouriness and texture of chopped crispy bacon.
Now for the recipe – which in all honesty is barely a recipe, not that that matters, of course, because it’s absolutely delicious! Wedges of cauliflower, roasted in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, are pretty wonderful on their own, and I’d be more than happy to gobble them down just like that, but I couldn’t resist adding a few (by no means essential) seasonings. A generous pinch of both sea salt and chilli flakes heighten the sweet, caramelised flavours. A bit of roughly torn fresh oregano brings a certain freshness. A scattering of thin almond flakes give a subtle toasty-nutty aroma, but the ingredient that makes the whole thing addictive? That’s where the onion, with its deeply savoury flavour and moreish, ultra crispy texture comes in. Trust me, this one’s a keeper!
A couple of small cauliflowers, outer leaves removed (about 900g)
4 tbsp. olive oil, plus a little extra
8 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. flaked almonds
1 tbsp. roasted onion flakes
Coarsely ground sea salt
A couple of pinches of chilli flakes
A little oregano, (or another fresh herb) roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Slice the cauliflower into fairly thin wedges. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil, then mix together 4 tbsp. oil with 8 tbsp. balsamic. Brush this oil over the cauliflower pieces, then arrange on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sea salt and chilli flakes, then roast for about 15 minutes on each side, or until caramelised.
While the cauliflower is in the oven, toast the almond flakes in a dry pan on the hob, tossing every now and then, until golden.
When the cauliflower is done, plate it up with the oregano, almonds and onion thrown over the top. Enjoy warm or at room temperature – makes a great lunch or side dish.