Like most Moroccan salads, this dish features a cooked vegetable, which is then flavored with spices and fresh herbs. This dish is best made a bit ahead of time (day before, or a few hours prior to serving) to allow ample time for flavors to meld. When I learned this recipe in a rooftop kitchen in Morocco, all the quantities were approximate and improvised, so I've done my best to capture them here. Feel free to add larger amounts of garlic, chili etc. for a spicier end product.
Prep time: 30m | Cook time: 45m | Total time: 1h 15m | Serves 6
One large head cauliflower (or two smaller heads), chopped into large florets (~6 c.)
1 lemon, quartered
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 c. or so chopped cilantro (about one bunch)
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. paprika
1 t. chili powder
2 T. lemon juice
1/3 c. good quality olive oil
1 t. salt
Place cauliflower and the quartered lemon in a large pot and add enough water to cover everything. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook about 45 minutes over a low flame until the cauliflower is very soft. Remove lemon sections, and drain cauliflower in a colander. Rinse with cold water; then let it cool to room temperature.
Once cool, add the garlic, spices, lemon juice, olive oil and salt to a large bowl. Use your hand (or a spoon) to mix well; then add cauliflower and use your hands to break up the florets as you incorporate them with the dressing. Keep going until the cauliflower is uniformly mashed, then let it sit at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Serve at room temperature. Can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated (just take it out an hour or so before serving so it can warm a bit).