Dukkah Roasted Cauliflower – My Paris Kitchen

I usually can say that I’m a pretty adventurous eater and that I’ll try a food at least once, but hand me a cruciferous vegetable and my appetite magically disappears. I won’t exactly fault the veggies (mainly broccoli and cauliflower in this case) as they really are packed with amazing nutritional value and carry with them every good intention…I blame my mother. Sorry mom, it has to be said that my childhood was happy and healthy; by all accounts it was wonderful, unless we talk cruciferous vegetables. The utmost care and attention MUST be taken when cooking these tricky vegetables and unfortunately a busy farm wife has so many other things to do. Overboiled, soggy, odiferous…these are the adjectives I would use to describe the many ways my mother served broccoli and cauliflower on many occasions. As a result, I have been lightly scarred (or scared) of these innocent veggies during my adult life. I don’t exactly avoid cooking them because I believe that they are very beneficial for my family and instead, I pay attention to serving them properly cooked.

When I heard that Cook the Book Fridays, a lively bunch of bloggers dedicated to cooking entire cookbooks from start to finish, was beginning a new cookbook I felt the urge to join in. They had just begun to cook every recipe from My Paris Kitchen by one of my favourite bloggers and authors, David Lebovitz. Okay, he’s not just one of my favourites…he is my favourite! I was so fortunate enough to meet him last year on our trip to San Francisco and I will be cooking every recipe for this group from a signed copy of My Paris Kitchen because I didn’t lug that thing to San Francisco and back for nothing! 227That leaves me to this week’s Cook the Book Friday recipe: Dukkah Roasted Cauliflower. I had a dukkah mixture in my pantry but the lure of roasting hazelnuts led me to make David’s fresh dukkah and I’m so glad I did. I found that the method used for the spices in the book (adding them to the same bowl with the hazelnuts, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds) did not allow me to process them as finely as I would like, so I adapted the method by adding the roasted spices directly to my mortar bowl and grinding them finely before adding them to the nut and seed mixture.


Dukkah       (Slightly adapted from My Paris Kitchenby David Lebovitz ;page 81)


  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • ½ cup (70g) sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup (150g) pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 heaping teaspoons fleur de sel, or fine sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

2. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven until they begin to turn golden and smell toasty, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer them to a tea towel which you must close around the nuts so they steam slightly and their skins blister away from the nuts. When the hazelnuts are cool, rub them in the towel to remove as much of the papery skin as possible.

3. Place the sesame seeds in a heavy skillet and toast them over medium heat, shaking the pan constantly, until they turn golden and smell toasty, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan, and repeat the process with the pumpkin seeds. Add them to a small bowl.

4. Place the coriander seeds in a small, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and toast just until they begin to smell fragrant, about 45 seconds. Remove from the heat and add to mortar. Repeat with the cumin seeds. Repeat with the fennel seeds and finally, the black peppercorns. Grind with a pestle until the roasted spices are quite fine.

5. Place the hazelnuts, sesame seeds, and the salt in the work bowl of the food processor and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the spices and process until the mixture is finely ground. Be careful not to over process so the nuts don’t become oily. Transfer to a serving bowl.dukkahcauliflower2
I may have had a rocky start with cauliflower but picking and roasting wild hazelnuts on our farm is a treasured memory.  There wasn’t a lot to do before my siblings came into the picture and it was a much simpler time and place back then. I remember heading out into the woods surrounding our farm and I probably wasn’t much older than seven years old. I found a bush with some interesting spiky green pods and I picked them. Even though my fingers were covered in minute splinters, I knew I had found hazelnuts. My dad was surprised that they grew nearby and that I had found them. I suppose I was just curious about the edible wild world around me. Funny thing is that last summer, while I was visiting the farm, I happened to notice my dad had picked a pail of wild hazelnuts and was drying them out on a flat piece of cardboard. I guess sometimes kids do teach their parents new things…now if only I could teach mom how to cook cruciferous vegetables!

This entry was posted by dishnthekitchen.

31 thoughts on “Dukkah Roasted Cauliflower – My Paris Kitchen

    • This variation is new to me..and I love the addition of roasted hazelnuts. I use the mortar and pestle all the time…I just can’t seem to get the yellow turmeric stains out of it. I just figure it adds another dimension to the flavours. lol

      • thank you- i am so happy to be starting from the beginning, I jumped in to Dorie on the last 4 months- but loved it. Betsy’s blogs inspired me

  1. So glad you’re joining us! And such a treat for you to have met David Lebovitz, too! I loved this recipe and agree – cruciferous vegetables are wonderful when properly handled, but awful when neglected.

  2. I’m not keen on these vegetables either, unfortunately I can’t blame my mum, she can make anything taste amazing. It was my total lack of skills in the kitchen! It’s exciting being a part of this group and learning to cook things in new ways. This dish tasted amazing and your photos look fantastic!

  3. I could say the same about my mother. There were some things which she cooked very well, but her method of choice for most vegetables was to just boil the life out of them and put them on a plate. No butter, no salt, no flavor.

  4. Everyone boiled there veggies to death back then, we have come a long way to make them look fresh and interesting.
    Love your photo with David. We were fortunate to meet up with him in New York, a great evening of fun. Your
    cauliflower looks wonderful. This was a winner in our house.

    • yes. I suppose that was the way with veggies…
      I ate half of the cauliflower for lunch and my 15 year old son devoured the rest at dinner. I think this dish will definitely be a make again!

  5. I love that last photo! And, yes, overcooked and soggy broccoli and cauliflower are just…nasty. Blech and no wonder people don’t like ’em, if served that way. I do also know, like Ro said above, that it was just the way people cooked then. That’s so great you’ve already met David and we’re glad to have you along with us!

  6. Your dukkah and cauliflower look wonderful! I loved the dukkah and the flavor it added to the cauliflower. My husband still won’t eat most veggies because his mother boiled her veggies to death. My family always roasted veggies…It’s a Mediterranean thing.

  7. Welcome aboard.
    I had the opportunity to meet David in person last year and he was very gracious with the group.
    Yeah, my mom still believes in the boil to death method for vegetables. That being said, I have always loved broccoli and cauliflower – I guess they were a better option than the canned beets 🙂
    Beautiful presentation!

  8. Welcome to our group! My mom was a stay-at-home suburban housewife yet she boiled those cruciferous vegetables to death too. Must have been the way it was done then. It took me years to willingly eat them, but now I love them especially roasted. This is one of my new favorite recipes. I’ve made it 3 times this week. I’m looking forward to cooking with you in the weeks to come.

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