Furikake Cauliflower

Welcome to post #3 in my "Cauliflower is Bar Food" series, during which I'm reinventing classic bar fare using one of my favorite veggies! So far I've done Margarita Cauliflower and Cauliflower Poutine. Up for today: Furikake Cauliflower!

Many of you are probably wondering what the heck furikake is. If you haven't experienced this Japanese seasoning blend yet, be prepared to fall in love! Furikake is a mixture of dried seaweed and sesame seeds. It's savory, salty, nutty, and indescribably addictive.

Note that, although some furikake blends contain dried fish, this one is totally plant-based and free of weird additives (e.g. MSG). It's just dried seaweed, sesame seeds, and salt. Simple, but perfect.

My first exposure to furikake was sitting at one of my favorite bars: The Bistro in Kilauea, Hawaii, on the island of Kaua'i. They make the most amazing furikake fries, and Dave and I have returned repeatedly to get them (or, let's be honest, sometimes two orders... alongside a couple Mai Tais...).

Furikake is the perfect bar food because of its deep savory notes. Nothing is better alongside drinks! Reinventing it with roasted cauliflower instead of fries really lightens things up, without sacrificing any flavor. In fact, I'd argue that the gorgeous, browned cauliflower is actually more flavorful than potatoes.

This dish comes together in a snap. Just roast a bunch of cauliflower, put together the seasoning and dipping sauce while the cauliflower roasts, toss the roasted cauliflower in a dash of sesame oil, then assemble. It's easy enough for a quick happy hour, yet is sure to please a crowd, and you can double or triple the recipe as needed.

And oh how I love this dipping sauce! While it definitely isn't traditional, it's super creamy and indulgent. The base of the sauce is avocado, but it becomes exciting with ginger and lime. Every bar nibble needs a creamy, indulgent sauce, right??

One final thought. We always pair furikake with Mai Tais, and it's a perfect match. Furikake is Japanese, Mai Tais are Pacific (the exact origin is debated, but may be on Kaua'i or Tahiti??), and the cuisine of the more southern Hawaiian islands is heavily Japanese-influenced. This dish really excels alongside a cocktail of the Tiki persuasion.

Happy snacking! Cauliflower is bar food!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Reinvented bar fare is one of my favorite culinary challenges! In particular, I adore these Brussel Sprout Nachos.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
 For the Cauliflower
  • Two heads of cauliflower. Assume one head per person if it's a meal, or half a head per person for robust snack, less than that for nibbling. Adjust all of these amounts as you need.
  • Coconut oil for roasting
  • Four sheets of nori, or a package of "Sea Snacks" or equivalent seaweed snack. If you go with the latter, choose unflavored or something simple like sesame.
  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt. Use a scant teaspoon. If you don't have a flaky sea salt, use only half as much since the small grains of regular salt pack much more closely together.
  • 0.5 tsp toasted sesame oil
For the Dipping Sauce 
  • Ripe avocado
  • Juice of a lime
  • Inch or two of ginger root
  • 1 tsp honey. Or use agave if you don't eat honey.
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 and lightly oil a large sheet tray.
  2. Cut your cauliflower into florets. For the bigger florets, cut them in halves or thirds for even cooking.
  3. Lay the cauliflower florets on the sheet tray in a single layer; they won't brown if they're overlapping.
  4. Roast for about 30-45 minutes until tender and browned.
  5. While the cauliflower is roasting, cut the seaweed into very small pieces. Keep chopping at a big pile of it until the seaweed is as small as you can get it. This will be much easier if you keep your knife and cutting board completely dry, since the seaweed will be brittle.
  6. Place the seaweed in a small bowl and add the sesame seeds and salt. Give it all a good toss.
  7. Also while the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the sauce. Grate the ginger on a microplane, then combine all of the sauce ingredients in a blender. Blend until you have a luscious, smooth consistency. Note than an immersion blender will work fine too.
  8. Once the cauliflower is done roasting, remove the sheet tray from the oven and drizzle very lightly with sesame oil. Give it a toss to make sure the florets are evenly coated.
  9. Take HALF of the furikake seasoning and toss it with the cauliflower.
  10. Put the cauliflower on a serving platter, set your dipping sauce on the side, and sprinkle both with the remaining furikake seasoning.


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