Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Color Purple!

Zucca di Hokkaido, Cavolfiore Viola, Zenzero, Mandorle e Rosmarino Gratinato
Hokkaido Pumpkin, Purple Cauliflower, Ginger, Almond and Rosemary Bake

Ok there are two great colors going on here, I agree- but I am pretty sure you have eaten an orange pumpkin a little bit more often than you have a purple cauliflower! But being as they are both delicious, I decided to come up with a dish using both this evening! Glorious Technicolor is all that I can say!

And yes, this is one of those strange and convoluted creations of mine- but one that somehow works and tastes both familiar and yet new and exciting at the same time!
To say that this dish tastes every bit as good as it looks would be somewhat of an understatement though...

To make it, I started off by separating the cauliflower into individual florettes and by cutting the Hokkaido into bite-sized chunks. I do love this pumpkin- not only for its great flavor, but also because it doesn't need peeling!

I popped them into a saucepan, onto a steam rack and steamed them in a combination of 1 glass of white wine and 4-5 tablespoons of Thai fish sauce, which I thinned down in a little water up to the height of 1" or so, for 5 minutes. I then took them out of the steamer and allowed them to cool off. In the meantime though, I peeled and finely chopped about 1" or so of ginger and a clove of garlic and began browning them in a little sesame oil in a frying pan...

I then added the vegetables and sautéed them for 2-3 minutes, adding cumin seeds, some finely chopped rosemary, pepper, a hint of curry powder and a little nutmeg for seasoning. The fish sauce I added into the steaming liquid already added a little salt- much in the same way that we might use anchovies to season cauliflower dishes in Italy too- but you might need to add a little salt now if necessary. I deglazed the pan with a splash of milk and kept stirring until most of the moisture had been absorbed by the vegetables, then transferred them to a baking dish.

Once I had arranged the cauliflower and pumpkin evenly in my dish, I sprinkled  them with a mixture of grated cheese and almond flakes, along with a little bit more fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper. I used simple Emmentaler cheese, but you can use any good melting cheese that you prefer. I sprinkled everything lightly with a little more milk, so that it would be moist and not dry out to quickly in the oven and popped it in, on the middle shelf, at 300°F for around 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, I fetched it out of the oven and gave it a light drizzle of honey, before returning it for a final 2-3 minutes under the broiler to caramelize and brown nicely. Once it was finished, I sprinkled it with some fresh, green rosemary and served it up hot, savory and delicious! Great as a side dish, or as a meal in itself and fun and flavorsome to boot! And oh, those colors!

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