Copycat Postino Crispy Cauliflower

One of the new dishes I learned after moving to Scottsdale is Crispy Cauliflower at Postino. It was always an item that we pass on when we look at the menu as no one in the family like cauliflower. During one visit, I heard a server mention that it comes with a to-die-for romesco sauce. That piqued my interest, and I ordered it just to make sure I don’t miss out.

A whole head of cauliflower was served, accompanied by juicy, plump sultana raisins, capers, and indeed, the to-die-for romesco sauce! We scraped every bit of the sauce off the plate, just short of licking the plate clean. That is how good the sauce is.

From then on, we always order Crispy Cauliflower when we visit Postino. I have tried to recreate the dish at home, scouring the net on how to plump sultana raisins, how to cook a whole head of cauliflower to perfect tenderness, and most important of all, how to prepare that to-die-for romesco sauce. After many many attempts, finally, I got it right. Yay!


Ingredients

  • 1 small cauliflower head
  • 1 Tbsp olive, grapeseed, or coconute oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Shawarma seasoning, see below
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp golden raisins
  • 1 Tbsp capers, drained
  • Romesco sauce for dipping, see below

Shawarma seasoning

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Romesco Sauce

  • One 12-oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained
  • 3/8 cup unsalted roasted almonds
  • 1/8 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/8 tsp fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.
  2. Bring an inch of water to a boil on in a small saucepan. Add the sultana raisins to the boiling water, turn down the heat, and let the raisins simmer in the water while you prepare the cauliflower and the sauce.
  3. Stir all the ingredients for shawarma seasoning together.
  4. Mix the grapeseed oil, shawarma seasoning, and 1/2 tsp sea salt until blended.
  5. Remove the leaves from cauliflower head and cut off the bulk of the stem such that the entire head is still intact. Rinse and dry the cauliflower.
  6. Flip the cauliflower head upside down and drizzle half the shawarma blend to coat the inside of the cauliflower.
  7. Flip it back face up and brush the remaining shawarma blend to coat the face of the cauliflower evenly.
  8. Fill a baking tray with water and place it below the center rack in the oven. This provides steam in the oven to help cook the cauliflower evenly.
  9. Place the cauliflower in a dutch oven face up, uncovered, and bake in the 400 degree oven on the center rack for about 35 mins, or until a knife easily pierce the core. Adjust oven time based on your preferred texture of the cauliflower.
  10. While the cauliflower is baking, prepare the romesco sauce.
  11. Blend all the ingredients for the romesco sauce in a blender. Drizzle in the oil once ingredients mixed and continue blending until the sauce is smooth. Add salt to taste.
  12. When the cauliflower is done, set the oven to broil on high, and broil until the crown is lightly charred, about 2 minutes.
  13. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with plum raisins, capers, and romesco sauce.
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