Monday, 2 September 2013

Arabian Bites

Romanesco, Pomodorini, Pastinaca & Fagiolini al Forno con Tahini & Ras al Hanout
Oven-Roasted Romanesco, Tomato, Parsnip & Beans in Tahini & Ras al Hanout

This is obviously not an Arabian dish at all, but the yummy Tahini and exotic Ras al Hanout transform these otherwise rather bland and everyday vegetables into a  culinary dream from 1001 nights- I kid you not! No need to be rubbing a magic lamp and begging some genie to prepare your supper either... you can fix it yourself just as quickly and I am about to tell you how!

This would make a great vegetarian meal combined with rice or couscous for example, or even noodles... but as you can see I left the carbs out this evening- I have plans for more of that to come this week you see! Having said that, the spices and the oven-crispiness made this into enough of a treat- thank goodness! Let me get busy writing for you, so you can try it out for yourselves!

First thing first- you are going to need some vegetables! As luck would have it, I had this wonderfully pretty Romanesco cauliflower- but regular white would also work perfectly well, and I suppose broccoli too. I cut it into its separate "florets" and popped it onto my little steam rack, along with a handful of string beans, a couple of shallots and a thinly sliced parsnip. Just simple stuff- but the flavors are complementary and go really well together. You can try other variations too of course!

So, into the steamer they went, beans first, then romanesco and the rest on top... along with the lid! And then on went the oven and out came a bowl for mixing the tahini & spice dressing! As always, it is all about timing and multi-tasking... and the tasks here and the time involved are minimal- which is great... because the result is maximum in deliciousness!

For this single serving, it took only 1 tablespoon of tahini and 1 of Ras al Hanout, the juice of half a lime, 1 tablespoon of honey, salt, pepper and a hint of cayenne. 
That doesn't sound like much... and you're right- it isn't and you CAN make a richter coating, but I found this to be pleasantly flavorful. I didn't want to overpower the vegetables own flavors with the sesame flavor of the tahini or the spice- this seemed nicely balanced to me for 1 small plateful of food.

After 5 minutes of steaming, I took the vegetables and dropped them into the bowl with the tahini and spice dressing and tossed / stirred everything together, so that it was evenly coated. I then spread everything out nicely and evenly onto a baking tray and popped it into the oven, at the maximum setting, for around 10 minutes... I wanted the tahini and spice to form a light crust on the outside, without the vegetables cooking for too much longer and then wilting down too much and becoming soft. 

10 minutes later, it was time to give the vegetables a flip over and at this point I added a handful of lovely cherry tomatoes, which I also gave a quick stir through the dressing first. At this point I also added the lightest extra drizzle of honey and a pinch of salt to everything and then popped it back into the oven for another 5 minutes- the last 2 of which I turned on the broiler as well to slightly caramelize everything... yum!

And that was all there was too it! Light, tasty with just a hint of spice and perfect for a light lunch or supper- although as I said- that side serving of rice or couscous would have made it all complete! Ah, but the sacrifices I make for you! And I know that nobody really trusts a skinny cook... but anyway! Do what I do- stay slim, have fun and enjoy! And I will see you again here tomorrow with something new!

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