I was only working with Yara for a few weeks, handing over my job as head chef in a small café in Tel Aviv before we moved to London. I was meant to be teaching her the job, but in the end I picked up more than a few of her great recipes, among them a lovely broccoli loaf with the florets running through the center, so that when you cut it, they looked like little trees. I’ve made several versions, this being my favorite, and I think about her whenever I make it — the life of a recipe. I recommend that you take the time to place the florets carefully upright in the molds to make sure you get a little cauliflower “tree” in the center of each muffin, but even if you don’t, you are still in for a tasty treat.
Makes 6 small muffins
1 small head of cauliflower
3 cups (700 grams/milliliters) water
1 teaspoon table salt
For the muffin batter
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (40 grams) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon table salt
A pinch of white pepper
5 ounces (150 grams) unsalted butter, melted
For topping (if you like)
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1) Break the cauliflower into florets, making sure there are at least six large “trees.” (You will most likely have more than six; cook them all and save the unused florets to eat another time.) Put the water and salt in a large pan and boil the cauliflower in it until soft (this will take 5–10 minutes). Check to see whether it is done by inserting a knife tip into the stem; it should penetrate without resistance. Drain well and set side.
2) Preheat the oven to 375°F/350°F convection and butter six muffin molds. Mix all the dry ingredients for the batter together. Add the eggs and use a spoon or spatula to mix until combined, then slowly mix in the melted butter and fold until it has all been incorporated.
3) Place a spoonful of batter in the center of each mold and stand a whole floret stem-down in each. Cover with batter to fill the molds to the top. Mix the pumpkin seeds and cheese, if using, sprinkle on the muffins and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the tin and eat while still warm — they are best this way.
Excerpted from “Golden,” Copyright © 2016 by Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer. Used with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York. All rights reserved.