Cauliflower with Nigella Browned Butter

Shopping is not one of my favorite activities–shoe stores give me hives–but I have a strong tendency to buy random herbs and spices that I then cram into my crowded spice cabinet.  Today I was doing a little spice purge to see what new spices I “need,” and to see what needs to be used up.  I came across a jar full of nigella seed that has been languishing for a while, and decided to use some of it in this simple cauliflower dish.

Nigella are the seeds of Nigella Sativa, and they have been used to season breads and sauces for centuries.  The flavor of the raw seed is most like that of black pepper, but when toasted they develop a sharp, slightly smokey, allium-tinged flavor.  They are also sold as “onion seed” and “black cumin.”  Note that onions will not grow if you plant them!

For this easy recipe I lightly steamed some cauliflower and then let it drain well.  I thought the “steaks” would be prettier for the photos, but regular florets will work well.  I then made the browned butter by placing four tablespoons of salted butter in a large skillet and heating it on medium.  The butter will foam up, and when the foam dies down, add in a couple of teaspoons of the nigella.  At this point, continue cooking and stir the butter until it smells nutty and the solids have browned.  Add in your steamed, drained cauliflower and let it heat for a few minutes.  It will soak up most of the butter.  Serve immediately, with a sprinkle of salt and a good hit of fresh lemon juice.

Thanks for reading,


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5 Responses to Cauliflower with Nigella Browned Butter

  1. Karen Harris April 9, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    This looks so delicious. It is a great idea for the seeds I only usually use for naan. I love cauliflower steaks. This idea really kicks them use a notch.

  2. Shawn April 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    This is definitely a must try for me. Love browned butter on veggies so, infusing it with herbs/spices should be a whole new level of delicious! Also, loving the cauliflower steak presentation 🙂

  3. BetsyD April 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Did you have a cauliflower soup recipe posted recently? With potatoes, mascarpone, and asiago? I can't find it now. It's entirely possible I hallucinated it.

  4. Buttoni September 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Looks like another good use for my nigella seeds! This looks delightful!

  5. Eric October 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Another great idea. I think the “steaks” are also a great idea, for photos, and for everyday also. I think it would help add to the nice browned surfaces and picking up the seasoned butter.

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