I tip my hat to New Orleans–based chef Alon Shaya, who provided me with the inspiration for this recipe. On a trip down to NOLA, I found his simply grilled cauliflower so delicious and transforming that when I returned home, this dish was one of the first things I came up with. If you or someone you know thinks of cauliflower as bland and uninteresting, please try it prepared this way.
But don’t just take my word for it. When I introduced this at White Street, it became one of our most ordered dishes. I’ve seen people eat it as an appetizer, as a side, and even as a main course, which I, dedicated meat eater that I am, definitely did not expect. It has been cool to see how many different people will accept and then embrace an unusual spin on a pretty ordinary ingredient. When you serve it for parties at home, leave the two halves intact and put them in a large shallow bowl. They look great with the dressing poured over them. Or, if you can find small cauliflower heads, you can prepare them as is as I often do, without halving them. A big spoon is all you need to pull florets off for serving.
Green raisins are easily found in Indian, Pakistani, and Afghani stores. They come from the Indian subcontinent, and I recommend trying to get them. They have a better acid-sweet balance than typical dried raisins, which tend to have a one-note sweetness. That acid component is important to the overall balance of the dish. It is true, however, that it’s not crucial, so you can use the ubiquitous golden raisins in their place if you truly can’t find green ones.
Excerpted from Floyd Cardoz: Flavorwalla by Floyd Cardoz (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2016. Photographs by Lauren Volo.