Vibrant flavours and thrilling spices come together in these three mouth-watering summer recipes from Carole Nelson Brown.
These dishes play well together and also make the perfect accompaniment to summer favourites like grilled meats and salads.
By Carole Nelson Brown
Roasted Cauliflower with Turkish Chili Oil and Honey
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
1 head cauliflower
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp ras el hanout
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp Maras chili or Aleppo pepper
1 1/2 tsp Turkish black chili or Urfa (goes by both names)
Pinch kosher salt
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white balsamic or white condiment vinegar
2 tbsp pickled yellow Peruvian peppers* (called Sweety Drops at Farm Boy)
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
*If you can’t find pickled Peruvian peppers, you can leave them out but they really add a lovely hit of colour and flavour to the finished dish. I get them at Farm Boy in the bulk pickle section.
Preheat oven to 425°F
Trim off the leaves and stalk and cut the cauliflower into large florets and then slice each one into a few slices. Toss the cauliflower gently with the
olive oil, about 2 tsp kosher salt and the ras el hanout. Lay the cauliflower out onto a parchment-lined
Roast the cauliflower on the bottom rack for about 25 minutes, until the bottom is nicely browned. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, to make the chili oil, heat the olive oil in a small pan with the garlic slices over medium low heat, until the garlic starts to turn brown. Remove from heat. After it sits for a few minutes, stir in the chill powders and add a pinch of kosher salt. Taste and add salt in small pinches until it reaches the level of saltiness you like. Set aside.
On a serving platter, lay the cauliflower out, browned side up. Drizzle 3 to 4 tbsp of the chili oil over the cauliflower, making sure to include some of the crispy garlic chips. Now, drizzle the honey all over the cauliflower—if it’s not runny enough, heat for a few seconds in the microwave or set the bottle in very hot tap water to soften it up.
Drizzle the white balsamic vinegar over the dish before you scatter the Peruvian peppers around the dish. Finish with the chopped pumpkin seeds and cilantro, and serve.
Spicy Lemongrass Gazpacho
540 grams of ripe tomato (approx. 5 medium)
150 g English cucumber (approx. 1/2)
100 g orange bell pepper (approx. 1/2)
1 slice white bread
Small handful of cilantro,
Small handful of mint, roughly chopped
1 small Thai chili, seeded and minced
(or more to taste)
1 tbsp grated lemon grass (discard outer leaves and grate the softer, inner stalk on a rasp)
Pinch kosher salt to taste
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fish sauce or, if you are vegetarian
use Golden Mountain
Rip up the slice of bread and soak in a small bowl
with some water. Set aside while you prep the
Instead of blanching and peeling the tomatoes, you can grate them. Cut large, ripe tomatoes in half and grate them against the large holes on a box grater placed in a big bowl, skin side out. When you get
to the end of the flesh, you will be left with the skin, which you can discard—leaving you with a bowl
of tomato pulp.
Put the tomato pulp into the blender container along with the cucumber, orange pepper, scallions, cilantro, mint, Thai chili, lime juice, lemon grass, fish sauce and oil. Remove the bread from the water, squeeze out
the extra water and add the bread to the blender with other ingredients. Puree until very smooth.
Taste, add a pinch of salt and a bit more lime juice if you think it needs it. Give it another whizz in the blender, and then pour the soup into a one litre/quart glass jar. Cover and put it in the fridge for at least an
hour before serving.
Moroccan Shrimp with Roasted Carrots
Each element can be done ahead of time. Just make sure everything but the shrimp is at room temperature when it’s time to serve
You will need:
Shrimp marinated in chermoula
Ras el Hanout carrots
3/4 to 1 cup labneh (or thick
1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped pistachios
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled but leave
the tail on
Bring a small pot of salted water to a simmer and poach the shrimp for a couple of minutes, until they turn white and opaque, remove them to
Put 3/4 of the chermoula into a glass jar or non-reactive bowl, and add the cooked shrimp, mixing well. Put the shrimp in the fridge for at least 8 hours or even overnight. Put the remaining chermoula into a container and put that in the fridge as well.
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, washed
1/2 bunch mint, leaves picked off the stalks and chopped (keep a few sprigs for garnish)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Hot chili to taste (I like to use one
or two small red Thai chilies but use what you have)
1 1/2 small, preserved lemon, seeds and flesh discarded, skin only, finely chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of two lemons
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
Put everything in a food processor and buzz until you have a mildly chunky paste, like pesto. Don’t totally puree.
Ras el Hanout Carrots
1 kg (2 lbs) multi coloured carrots, halved horizontally and then again vertically
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ras el hanout
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 450°F and move
a rack to the bottom third of the
oven.Toss the carrots in the oil, ras el hanout and salt and lay out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes until they are starting to brown and are tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
Remove the shrimp from the chermoula marinade, discard the marinade.
Spoon 3 to 4 tbsp of labneh on the bottom of each plate, drizzle with olive oil and pinch of kosher salt. Top with a nest of criss-crossed carrots and arrange 3 jumbo shrimp on top of the carrots. Spoon a bit of the reserved chermoula over the top of the shrimp and finish with about 1 tbsp of chopped, toasted pistachios and a sprig of mint.