Fried Cauliflower with Tahini, Labneh, Baba Ghanoush
Driving my daughter, Brydie, back to college in Minnesota, we spent a night in Salt Lake City. We got mocktails at Swig (very Mormon), and I had a DIZZLE—pineapple, coconut, peach and Sprite, all over crushed ice—very important. And instead of French fries, which used to be my road trip food of choice, we got the vegetable-forward Fried Cauliflower from Laziz Kitchen, recommended by my buddies at JBF and on Triple D! A double win. I have considered making cauliflower cool a lifelong mission of mine. This was delicious road trip food that was also good room temp in the car. NO BATTER NECESSARY! GF all the way people.
cheesecloth; butcher's twine; a deep-fryer or deep-fry thermometer
For the labneh: Place the yogurt in a couple layers of cheesecloth and tie with butcher's twine, creating a ball. Tie the cheesecloth to a spoon or utensil over a bowl to let any excess liquid drain. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
For the tahini dipper: Preheat the oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F.
Combine the tahini, lemon juice, coriander and cumin with 1/3 cup water in a food processor and blend. Season to taste with salt.
For the labneh: In a small bowl, combine the oil, parsley, sesame seeds, sumac, thyme and lemon zest, creating your homemade "zaatar" oil.
Place the labneh in a pretty bowl, then create a divot in the middle. Spoon the zaatar oil in the divot and over the top.
For the baba ghanoush: Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast, turning every 5 minutes, until the skin is blackened and all sides are soft, about 15 minutes. Place in a bowl until cool enough to handle. Cut off the tops and cut the eggplants in half. Spoon out the flesh, separating it from the burnt skin.
In a food processor, combine the eggplant, tahini, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, sumac and lemon juice until smooth (reserve the zest for the cauliflower). Season to taste with salt.
For the cauliflower: Fry the cauliflower until brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Toss in a bowl with the ras el hanout, turmeric, parsley, lemon zest and salt.
Serve with the tahini dipper, baba ghanoush, labneh and pita chips.