A new dish idea is great, but a new technique is even greater. Sometimes you look at the product, and then that aha moment descends or sparks inside you. And immediately the fog dissipates, and you see as clear as possible – cauliflower is just a bunch of couscous grains put together on a stalk. Pure, sensual, great moment. Not every cook, however, can look at a familiar ingredient from a different angle and notice an attribute that can be further transformed into something entertaining. And, hopefully, delicious.
That is exactly what cauliflower couscous is. Some call it rice or risotto. It’s light and fluffy, takes minutes to make, and it’s super easy. What else do you need to hear before trying it on your own? And put aside your skepticism. It is not one of the recipes you hate because it tricks your mind. It’s pretty straightforward and does a fair job of a copycat.
What you need to do is to wash your cauliflower, chop it into chunks, leaving big stalks behind, and pulse it a few times in a food processor. You are looking for a fluffy consistency of couscous-like granules. It’s literally done in minutes. (If you are an adherent of old school classical techniques, just take out a good ol’ grater and grate cauliflower with your bare hands). Probably, you will need to remove unprocessed tiny bits.
Then it’s time for the fun part. You need to decide how to cook it. Of course, you can use raw couscous in a cold Arabic vegetarian salad – tabbouleh. Or you can use it as a topping in your favorite buddha-bowl with brown rice and butternut squash, beans and onions, apples and nuts.
But we suggest you try a cooked version. Cooking couscous makes it more tender and airy. It’s also super easy. Warm a glug of olive or any other vegetable oil in a skillet, you can totally go in with butter, over medium heat. Toss in your cauliflower with some salt and freshly grated pepper. Cook the mixture for 6-8 minutes, giving it a good stir every now and then. Serve with some pomegranate seeds, parsley, mint and roasted almonds. Don’t forget to chop some veggies on the side if you want it to be a plain vegetarian dish. Or add a leg of lamb if you feel more decisive today.