Smoky Cauliflower & Piquillo Sandwich

Early Summer 2016
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food and drink

BY: Christopher St. Onge

Using your grill to roast a whole head of cauliflower results in a smoky beauty that holds its own when paired with pungent garlic mayo and delicious piquillo peppers. Piquillo are fire-roasted, prepared sweet peppers available in jars or cans. If unavailable, use jarred roasted red peppers instead.

ROASTED ALMOND AÏOLI
1 egg yolk
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
½ cup (125 mL) roasted almond oil
½ cup (125 mL) grape-seed or canola oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice

CILANTRO CHIMICHURRI
1 cup (250 mL) firmly packed cilantro and stems
3 tbsp (45 mL) red wine vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) water
�⅓ cup (80 mL) olive oil
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
1 clove garlic

1 cauliflower, 1½ lbs (750 g)
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, melted
1 tsp (5 mL) sweet smoked paprika
½ tsp (2 mL) ground allspice
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
4 slices sourdough, each about 1 inch (2 cm) thick
1 jar (285 mL) piquillo peppers, drained

1 To prepare the roasted almond aïoli, whisk together the egg yolk, salt and garlic. Combine the roasted almond oil and grape-seed oil in a measuring cup with a spout and very slowly drizzle into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Mixture should thicken considerably as you add oil; continue until all oil is incorporated. Whisk in lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble sandwich (aïoli will keep for 5 days).

2 For the cilantro chimichurri, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles pesto; pour out into a jar or small bowl, cover and refrigerate (chimichurri will keep for 3 days) until ready to serve.

3 Preheat only one side of grill on high, with lid closed, until temperature reaches 425° to 450°F (220° to 230°C). If chimichurri has been refrigerated, remove to the counter to warm to room temperature.

4 Trim cauliflower of leaves and remove most of core, but leave head intact. In a small bowl stir together olive oil, butter, paprika, allspice, cumin and salt. Place cauliflower on side of grill that has remained off and brush with roughly half the oil mixture. Close lid and roast for 20 minutes. Brush with remaining oil mixture, close lid again and continue to cook for another 10 to 20 minutes or until darkly roasted and tender. Remove to a board.

5 Grill bread until lightly charred. Spread each slice with a generous amount of the aïoli; divide whole piquillo peppers between toasts. Cut cauliflower into large chunks and place an equal amount on each sandwich. Drizzle with chimichurri and serve while still warm.

Makes 4 sandwiches