This Christmas I was set on procuring a few new cookbooks. Well, actually, I hadn’t given a thought to Christmas until the question of what I wanted was forced upon me. It was all in the name of letting a few relatives know what I was looking for–they were the ones that needed to know. I should have realized that it would be my close family that actually were at a loss for what to buy me, for they were the ones who bought me cookbooks. And I didn’t realize that my family would take my requests to heart quite so thoroughly. The only person I didn’t get a cookbook from was my mother.
Now, despite not really wanting anything to start, I am immensely happy with the cookbooks. My littlest brother bought me The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Berenbaum. My next oldest brother got me Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. My father bought me Gran Cocina Latina by Maricel E. Presilla. And my godfather, well, he gave me Bon Appetít Desserts. I am so impossibly grateful.
Last night I went through the Bon Appetít book and found myself marking page after page. Did you know they had a wasabi and sesame chocolate layer cake? I’m thinking of making it for my little sushi-loving brother’s birthday. Gran Cocina Latina, an enormous volume, is packed full of recipes, that are more often than not gluten-free and look incredibly flavorful. Have I ever told you just how much I adore Cuban food? The Cake Bible is one I’ve been hearing about for the longest time. I’ve never had such a complete and thorough compilation of cake recipes.
But most of all I am falling in love with Jerusalem, and the awe-inspiring photos therein. We’ve been buying spices and lots of tahini to get to work making some of the delicious recipes. Last night, my mother made this salad, but in the way specified, which was with cauliflower. I cannot tell you how good it was. The varying textures all came together, and the buttery hazelnuts fit well with the sweet and tart pomegranate seeds, slightly charred vegetables, and copious amounts of just barely chopped parsley.
Today I made it for lunch. Though my mom said she prefers it with cauliflower, I’m not sure. Broccoli has a stronger flavor on its own, and I think might add more to the salad than cauliflower. I’d encourage you to make it both ways, and see which suits you.
Anyway, it’s finally snowing here, and heavily. We’re expecting 7-14 inches, which will be the most we’ve gotten thus far. Oh how I love the contrast; we’re eating this food from a swelteringly hot part of the globe while getting a foot of snow.
Roasted Broccoli Salad with Hazelnuts and Pomegranate
Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
1 head broccoli, cut into relatively small florets (or 1 head of cauliflower, prepared similarly)
5 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 a pomegranate, seeds removed
Around 1/3 cup packed flat-leaf parsley with stems removed and roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, cut on a slant
5 tablespoons hazelnuts, with skins (I may have used more, perhaps 1/2 cup)
1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar (I might use 2 Tbsp.)
1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
heaping 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
heaping 1/4 teaspoon allspice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss broccoli with 3 Tablespoon of olive oil and turn onto a baking sheet. Place on the middle rack of the oven. The recipe originally states to bake for 25 to 35 minutes. I found that 20 minutes was sufficient for the broccoli, without turning it. You want the broccoli to be very dark in places.
Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 17 minutes. Though the recipe doesn’t called for them to be skinned, I think that doing so might improve the salad. It you wanted to skin them, then, while hot you could roll them around in a towel on a flat surface. Once cooled a bit, chop them and add them to the broccoli. Then add the rest of the ingredients (including the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil) and toss well.