Time: 1 hr
3 banana shallots or 1 onion
1 large cauliflower
1 teaspoon ground dried chillies
2 x 400 g tins cannellini beans
25 g unsalted nuts , (whatever kind you have)
3-4 sprigs of woody herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, flat-leaf parsley
To make the crispy onions, peel and thinly slice the shallots or onion into rings. Heat a good splash of oil in a pan and slowly fry the shallots for 15 minutes, until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen paper to crisp up.
Trim away the cauliflower stalk, then boil the cauliflower whole in a pan of salted water over a medium heat for 3 minutes, then drain and leave to cool.
Next rub in the chilli, sea salt and black pepper, and drizzle with a little oil. Leave to one side.
For the pesto, toast the nuts in a dry pan over a low heat until golden, then either bash with a pestle and mortar or blitz in a food processor until combined.
Pick and add the herbs with a pinch of salt and blitz or bash again until you have a thin paste. Season with lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper, and set aside.
Heat the cannellini beans and a couple of tablespoons of their liquid in a pan over a low heat for 10 minutes, or until warmed through. Mash and stir through 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pesto.
Preheat a griddle pan over a high heat.
Quarter the cauliflower and char on the griddle for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and charred.
Divide the mash between four plates and top with a wedge of cauliflower, a drizzle of the herb oil and the crispy shallots.
MR. PORTER AND MS. CHARLES CULINARY CRAVINGS
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. But, it takes two to tango so stay tuned to see who will master the steam oven first, or whether Mr. Porter or Ms. Charles comes up with the best new recipes.
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