You might be forgiven for thinking it was the Americans who started roasting cauliflowers, turning this previously pretty uninspiring vegetable into the food world’s next big thing. But no, It was the Israelis! Or one particular Israeli: a chef called Eyal Shani. At his business partner’s house for Friday night dinner, he was served a whole roasted cauliflower – his partner’s mother’s recipe – and boom! It ended up on the restaurant menu as “cauliflower three ways” and became an international sensation. This is such a dramatic and exciting dish to bring to the table – and so easy to make. It also works as a side.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and bring a large pan of water to the boil.
Carefully place the cauliflower into the water and let it cook for 8 minutes. Remove and place on a baking tray.
Mix the olive oil with the smoked paprika, paprika and za’atar. Spread this mixture all over the cauliflower with the back of a spoon and then season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, until cooked through and crisp on the outside.
Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes. Cut a small cross in their base with a sharp knife, then plunge them into boiling water for a few seconds and then immediately into cold water. Remove the skins, which will have loosened. Grate the tomatoes with a coarse grater into a small bowl.
Mix the tahini with the water, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, ideally in a food processor or in a bowl with a whisk.
Serve the cauliflower either in florets or cut into ‘steaks’ with the tahini sauce and grated tomato on top.