One of my neighbors has a lovely sidewalk garden (as many in Seattle do). She grows a couple varieties of tomatoes, some squash, strawberries, a plethora of herbs and even beautiful flowers.Yesterday, I found myself on the receiving end of a stuffed bag of herbs (chives, parsley, thyme, young basil and tarragon) and beautiful ripe red and yellow tomatoes.
My son was so excited about the tomatoes, he proceeded to eat almost all of them pretty much immediately and left his mark on the larger, less sweet variety with a big bite.
It was pretty adorable and you won’t find me complaining that my kid loves tomatoes. Vegetable or fruit: they are a nutritional powerhouse, especially the vine-ripened, local and organic ones from the garden down the street.
As dinner approached, I started thinking about how I could incorporate these beautiful, freshly picked herbs into our meal. I had plans to use up a large head of cauliflower and was leaning towards making this Creamy Mashed Cauliflower with Ghee. I thought about snipping some fresh chives on top and calling it a day but the fresh basil leaves were so delicate and fragrant, I knew they had to be used up.
This is a simple side dish, easy to make and full of flavor. Make sure to use young or small basil leaves as they are just barely wilted from the heat of the cauliflower and retain some of their spicy anise flavor (the older or larger leaves will be much more intense).
- I haven’t tried roasting the cauliflower but I am sure it would work really well. If you need instructions on temperature, etc. click here for my Perfect Roasted Cauliflower Recipe.
- This also works well as a chilled side salad. I recommend adding 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil along with the vinegar and red pepper after cooking, mix well and chill until ready to serve.
- If you only have large basil leaves, stack them and cut into thin ribbons. Make sure to toss with the cauliflower as soon as it comes off the grill so they cook just a bit.
- 1 large head cauliflower, core removed and cut into evenly sized florets (about 1¼ lb of florets)
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil (or other high heat cooking oil)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar
- ½ cup baby or small basil leaves
- Remove the core of the cauliflower and cut the cauliflower into florets. (Click here for a tutorial).
- Toss the florets into a ziploc type bag along with the avocado oil and kosher salt. Shake until well coated.
- Remove basil leaves from stems and combine with red pepper flakes and vinegar. Set aside.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat. Place florets on grill tray lined with tin foil (alternately place a large piece of tin foil directly on the grill).
- Cook cauliflower 30 to 35 minutes, turning every 5 to 7 minutes until stalks are tender and florets have some charcoal marks.
- Remove from grill and immediately toss with basil leaves, crushed red pepper flakes and white balsamic vinegar. Serve and Enjoy!