The secret to this fabulous (and gluten-free) recipe is cauliflower, which stands in as a replacement for the traditional wheat couscous. Finely chopped to the size of large crumbs, then pan roasted to soften and slightly caramelize the edges, the hearty crucifer transforms into a mild and nutty vehicle for this aromatic side dish. In fact, the flavor is so delicious and subtle, it's likely the most ardent cauliflower hater will be asking for seconds.
Spicy Cauliflower Couscous with Chiles and Lemon
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 thin scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
- 1 large red or green jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
- 1 small poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Remove the leaves and core of the cauliflower. Coarsely chop the florets and place in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the florets until they are chopped into a mixture of crumbs and pea-size pieces.
- Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and salt and sauté until beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, and cumin. Continue to cook until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.