Charred Cauliflower with Shishito Peppers, Chorizo and Picada Sauce

S: Taking inspiration from the SAVEUR team, this recipe caught my eye as I had gotten shishito peppers in my delivery box for the week and had no idea what to do with them. One of my favorite dishes in Spain are blistered shishitos topped with flaked sea salt, but apart from that dish, I have never had shishito peppers in any other form.

I always like to surprise Greta with new recipes and cooking terms, so when I told her I was found this recipe and was going to make a picada sauce, she gave me a beautifully confused look. Having Googled it about five minutes before, a picada sauce is an aromatic Catalan sauce added as a seasoning during cooking, such as a thickener and flavor for stews. Traditional picada is prepared in the mortar and must contain a basic triad of almond, bread, and some liquid, and is typically supplemented by aromatics such as cinnamon, saffron, white wine, garlic, and dark chocolate to name a few. Almost like a Spanish pesto, we put our own twist on it with hazelnuts instead of almonds and threw in that dark chocolate featuring one of our favorite Seattle chocolate makers, Theo Chocolate. For us lucky Seattleites, their factory is in Fremont and one walk around their block whisks you into their chocolate heaven. Not to mention, they are the first fair-trade certified and organic chocolatiers in the U.S.!

G: I must say, I was pleasantly confused and surprised! Starting off the with the blistered shishitos, I would have just eaten that as a meal! So good and tasty. Adding the cauliflower and chocolate, this is an awarding winning dish!

Creating delicious and healthy meals does not mean you have to think of something from scratch. Take an ingredient or two, and figure out what you like and have fun experimenting… and eating!

Recipe: Charred Cauliflower with Shishito Peppers, Chorizo and Picada Sauce

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
12 Imperfect shishito peppers
2 oz chorizo sausage, cooked
1 garlic clove thinly sliced
1/4 cup avocado oil, for frying
20 roasted hazelnuts (Trader Joe’s)
handful of thyme
1 slice of peasant bread (about 2 oz)
1 oz. of Theo 85% dark chocolate
zest of 1/2 orange
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp of orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
Directions:

1. Turn oven on to broil.
2. Clean, dry, half and cut cauliflower into 1/2″ wedges.
3. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arranged in a single layer on a baking sheet, place cauliflower in middle rack in oven and broil, flipping every so often, about 15-20 min. until charred.
4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the bread and toast until uniformly golden on both sides.
5. Remove bread from the pan, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into small cubes. Let cool.
6. Transfer the cubes to a food processor. Add the hazelnuts, garlic, any remaining olive oil from the skillet, thyme, dark chocolate, and orange zest. Pulse until finely chopped and slowly add 1/4 cup of olive oil. (Feel free to leave out the olive oil for a more crumbly texture). Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle to pound the picada into a crumbly or smooth paste.
7. With a clean skillet, heat avocado oil over medium-high and fry peppers until blistered, about 5 minutes.
8. Transfer peppers to paper towels to drain.
9. To plate: Lay out cauliflower, top with fried shishitos, crumble chorizo on top and garnish with picada. Finish off with coarse sea salt.

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