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3 Aug 2016 |
During winter it's not common to find people digging into bowls of salads. Generally left for balmy summer evenings and those times when you just can't muster the courage to cook yourself a proper dinner, salads are loved and loathed in equal measure. There is of course an exception to this and that exception can be found on Brunswick St in the inner city Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy. Alimentari is a deli that has seen it all and continues to thrive in the ever-changing food scene that is Melbourne, more importantly than the deli's connection to its location is the ethos it has towards good food and the power it has to bring people together.
Anyone that has frequented the friendly shop front of Alimentari knows that the salads are unlike any other you've ever eaten. They have managed to make the salad an all year round, comforting meal that can certainly see you through a cold winter's night. Some of the stand out salads and our picks for the perfect mid-week winter meal include the Roasted Pumpkin, Rocket, Balsamic Onion and Parmesan salad, the Farro, Persian Feta and Almond salad and lastly the Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Almonds, Fried Onion and Sultana.
Alimentari, the cookbook, also includes all manner of dishes that at their core are simple and easily achieved in anyone's kitchen. It is really the quintessential cookbook for anyone that is looking for something a bit different to cook, without the fuss.
Recipe for the Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Almonds, Fried Onion and Sultanas
Serves 4–6 as a starter or light meal
This is inspired by a classic Lebanese fried cauliflower dish that I’ve primarily eaten as a sandwich – fried cauliflower and houmus rolled up in flatbread. We dress the salad with tahini but you could also use
houmous. I love this with a side of fresh Lebanese bread.
canola or sunflower oil for
1 head cauliflower, cut
2 brown onions, finely sliced
1 piece Lebanese flatbread,
torn into bite-sized pieces
olive oil, for drizzling
1 ½ tablespoons ghee
100 g (3 ½ oz) slivered almonds
200 g (7 oz) cooked (see note)
or drained tinned chickpeas
50 g (1 ¾ oz) sultanas
1 bunch coriander (cilantro),
leaves picked and roughly
1 bunch flat-leaf (Italian)
parsley, leaves picked and
1 bunch basil, leaves torn
1 garlic clove, crushed
150 g (5 ½ oz) tahini
200 g (7 oz) Greek-style
juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Lightly grease a baking tray.
Fill a small saucepan about 2 cm (¾ in) full with oil and heat until it just starts to shimmer.
Add the cauliflower and fry until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel. Then add the
onions and cook until crisp and lightly golden. Remove and drain.
Spread the flatbread onto the prepared tray, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for
10-15 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool.
Place the ghee in a shallow frying pan over low heat. When melted, add the almonds and cook
until golden. This happens quite quickly so make sure you keep your eye on the ball while tossing
the almonds around. Drain on paper towel.
To make the dressing, place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
To serve, fold the chickpeas, sultanas, almonds and cauliflower together in a large salad bowl. Add the coriander, parsley and basil, top with the fried onion and drizzle the tahini dressing over.
Finally, gently fold in the toasted flatbread.
NOTE: TO COOK CHICKPEAS, START THE NIGHT BEFORE BY SOAKING 125 G (4 ½ OZ) DRIED CHICKPEAS IN COLD WATER. THE NEXT DAY, DRAIN THEN RINSE THE CHICKPEAS AND
PLACE IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN. COVER WITH FRESH WATER AND BRING TO THE BOIL. REDUCE THE HEAT AND COOK FOR 1 ½ HOURS OR UNTIL TENDER. DRAIN INTO A COLANDER AND TOSS IN A SPLASH OF GOOD OLIVE OIL.
If you'd like to hear more about the story behind Alimentari listen in to Linda chatting to Clare Bowditch on 774 here