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Charred Cauliflower

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Chef notes

This cauliflower puts all other preparations to shame. The spicy coconut syrup transports you to the islands while the romesco sauce is reminiscent of classic European cuisine. It is a globally inspired dish that will keep you going back for more.


Coconut syrup
  • 2 cups coconut flakes
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 scotch bonnet peppers
Romesco sauce
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
To assemble
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken down into florets
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Cilantro, torn


For the coconut syrup:


Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.


Add the toasted coconut, water, garlic, lime juice and pepper to a small pot and bring to a boil.


Place mixture in a blender and puree in batches. Strain and reserve syrup. Discard all other contents.

For the romesco sauce:

Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree. In a medium sized pot, add the olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Add the puree and cook, constantly stirring, for 30 minutes. Season with salt and reserve.

For the cauliflower:

Season the cauliflower with salt, lime and the coconut syrup and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

To assemble:

Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the romesco sauce on the plate. Place the cauliflower on top and sprinkle with lime juice and torn cilantro.