One of the dishes that influenced me the most was Jean-Georges’ scallops with cauliflower and caper-raisin emulsion. I thought the flavors and textures were perfect. So, when my chef de cuisine, Chris Cipollone, made brown butter-basted cauliflower for a vegetarian entree, I instantly thought to pair it with raisins. I then decided I needed acid to counter the sweetness and added red wine vinegar. When I tasted it the texture wasn’t silky enough so I added white chocolate to smooth it out. It was perfect, almost. Then I felt it needed spice but not harsh spice so I added piment de espelette, a chili from the Basque region of Spain. For crunch I added pistachios. The dish was extraordinary.
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 gallons water, for boiling
- 2 head cauliflower
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons Valrhona white chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup pistachios, crushed roughly
- Maldon sea salt to taste
- Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add lemon and cauliflower and cook for 5 min. Cool down in salted ice water.
- Rehydrate the raisins in the vinegar over soft heat. Add the white chocolate and blend till smooth in a blender or vita prep. Add the chili powder and pulse.
- Once completely cool, we can begin the browning process. Heat the butter in the pan until light brown. Add the cauliflower (crown down), garlic and thyme and baste continuously till golden brown. It should take 5 minutes for the head to brown evenly.
- Remove from the butter, and spill half the butter over the cauliflower. Season with sea salt and drizzle the raisin emulsion over the head. Sprinkle pistachios liberally and serve.