It's proven that fruits and vegetables make you feel happier. And when you do your happiness this way, it becomes a craving.

Crave happiness

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We don’t always want what’s good for us. And if you don’t think it through, you might believe it’s because “naughty” and “nice” are enemies.

But it just ain’t so. “Naughty” and “nice” can be best friends. And they should be, because eating fruits and vegetables don’t just make you healthier, they make you happier. Want proof?

The reason is truly simple when it comes to food. Things that are good for you, and things that are bad for you, are what you eat if they are delicious.

Especially if they are the kind of delicious that you cannot describe.

Enter my roasted cauliflower soft taco.

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Ottolenghi’s to blame

Yotam Ottlolenghi is still not yet the household name he deserves to be. But you’ve been eating his food for a long time, if you eat out. That’s because chefs adore his approach to bringing out flavor that tastes simultaneously exotic and exactly like home cooking.

What he does with cauliflower is the perfect example. He does cauliflower steaks with za’atar — and also does them with a walnut-caper salsa. He’s got a ridiculously delicious pomegranate, pistachio and cauliflower salad. And a cauliflower soup that will change your life. And cauliflower curry. He’s been roasting cauliflower forever and adding stuff to it that’s addictive.

Restaurant chefs love it, and serve it.

But Ottolenghi’s to blame not for cauliflower, but for spreading far and wide the kind of cooking I’ve loved long before I’d heard of him.

So, this is mine. All mine. But I feel sure Ottolenghi would love it. And you will, too.

Down and Dirty Cauliflower Tacos

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Serves 2

Ingredients

  • One whole head cauliflower cut into flat “steaks,” which you then cut into segments.

  • One 12-ounce jar of tomatillo salsa

  • Kosher salt to taste (a pinch or two)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

You’ll use the tomatillo sauce in two halves: 1/2 to braise the cauliflower steaks and 1/2 to serve with the tacos.

Braising cauliflower in tomatillo sauce. Heaven.

Braising cauliflower in tomatillo sauce. Heaven.

Procedure

In your largest EuroCAST skillet:

  1. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil into a skillet over medium high heat

  2. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper

  3. Allow to really brown on all the sides, because that caramel goodness is GOLD! Gold, I tell you. It’s the flavor that brings saints and sinners to the same table.

  4. Add in 1/2 the tomatillo sauce and reduce to low.

Let simmer until fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Serving suggestion

This is a taco. You know how to taco, kittens.

But here’s my way.

  • I dig a medium-sized flour tortilla that I char over an open flame

  • I add a good smear of sour cream, or full fat yogurt

  • I slice or dice up a perfectly ripe avocado

  • Then I slide in a bit of green salad-y crunch and color: Try arugula and romaine, broccoli slaw, crispy red radish, purple cabbage, wafer-thin slices of red onion — in any order or quantity that you desire

  • Pickled sliced carrots

  • Pickled jalapeno

  • Pickled red onions (yes, you can combine thin-sliced fresh red onion with picked red onion because they taste different)

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In a pickle, if you’re lucky

As for the pickled items, my long-time readers I love a quick pickle. It’s a staple, a go-to, a perfect magic trick to elevate anything — sandwiches, eggs, Asian foods of all kinds.

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Quick Pickles

6 Persian cucumbers sliced thin on a mandolin

OR:

6 Medium size carrots sliced wafer thin on a mandolin

OR:

2 medium sized red onions sliced wafer thin on a mandolin

Place those in a colander and toss with 4 T. Kosher salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Rinse well and drain.

In the meantime, bring to a boil:

  • 2 cups white vinegar

  • 2 T. Kosher salt

  • 2 cloves peeled garlic

  • 2 Serrano peppers, split (if you dare — and you should for this taco)

Let that cool a bit.

Then, in a heat-safe bowl or glass Ball jar, pack the cucumbers (or carrots or onions) in and pour over the cooled vinegar.

Let that sit, ideally overnight, but it can be for less time (hence, “quick pickle”).

Put any of that pickled goodness on your cauliflower taco.

And you will have in your hands proof positive that you can be happier with vegetables, as long as they’re this delicious.



Paul WardComment