Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Chilli Broccoli Verrine

Today is the halfway point of my Summer of Salads journey and every milestone deserves a celebration, no matter how small. I’d like to toast an appreciation to those who take the time to read anything I write. Some of my salads can be somewhat laborious or rambling, so to anyone who enjoys this journey, cheers!
The idea of a salad in a glass or “en verrine” came from two places. Firstly, there’s a local French pastry vendor at the downtown market here on Saturdays, Passion Sucrée, who makes a variety of treats. One of those treats is a multilayer chocolate mousse verrine with fresh seasonal fruit amidst the layers.
Secondly, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to a savoury verrine involving the components of ratatouille layers with soft cheese and creme fraiche.
I loved the idea of a savoury verrine and decided that my creamy layer would be sour cream. I then looked in the fridge at my vegetable selection and I appeared to have a glut of cauliflower and broccoli, so those would be the other layers.
Not knowing quite where it would go, I started by coming up with a sweet curry mix for the cauliflower and to balance that sweet, yet bold flavour, with the sour cream, I thought I’d add some heat to the broccoli, but keep it somewhat sweet as well to tie the layers together.
So, cheers again and here’s to another half of summer full of salad treats!! 🙂

Curried Cauliflower and Sweet Chilli Broccoli Verrine

For the Sweet Curry Spice Mix:

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
5 or 6 cardamom pods
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp turmeric

In a spice grinder, grind the spices into a powder. Set aside.

For the Curried Cauliflower:

1/2 tsp cold pressed canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped fresh tomato
Reserved Sweet Curry Spice Mix
2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into small florets (1 cm or 1/2″ pieces)

In a pan over medium high heat, heat the oil and add the onions. Sauté for a few minutes to soften, but not brown. Add half of the spice mix and the tomatoes. Toss and stir to coat everything in spice and toast the spices. Add the cauliflower and the remaining spice mix. Sauté for a further minute or two and add 1/2 cup water. Stir and simmer for 7-10 minutes until the cauliflower softens partially, the water absorbs and evaporates. The cauliflower should still have some bite but have an easy give when chewed. Place in a bowl and cool.

For the Sweet Chilli Broccoli:

1 tsp cold pressed canola oil
1 red finger chilli, finely chopped (leave seeds in for extra heat or take them out to keep it milder)
4 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
1 cup broccoli, cut into small florets, stems finely sliced
2 tsp honey

In a pan over medium high heat, add the oil, chilli and white parts of the green onions. Sauté for a few minutes to soften but not brown. Add the broccoli stems, honey and 1/4 cup water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and simmer for a further minute. Take out the broccoli mixture with a slotted spoon and allow any juices to reduce to a syrup and pour over the broccoli mixture. Allow to cool completely. Set aside.

To assemble the verrine:

1/2 cup sour cream
Reserved Curried Cauliflower
Reserved Sweet Chilli Broccoli

In a cocktail glass, spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of Curried Cauliflower on the bottom of 2 glasses. Top with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sour cream. Add half of the Sweet Chilli Broccoli to each glass. Top with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sour cream. Divide the remaining Curried Cauliflower on the top of both glasses. Serves 2.

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