Brassicas hold a special place in the heart of every broccoli-loving kid who grew up to eat her weight in kale (not that I know anyone who fits that definition, of course).
But now that we’ve collectively changed our minds about Brussels sprouts, cabbage and other formerly snubbed cruciferous vegetables, it’s time to celebrate the many branches of the family tree. That’s what Portland, Ore.-based food writer Laura B. Russell has done with her newest book, “Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More” (Ten Speed Press, $23), which features 80 recipes for everything from leafy mustard greens and broccoli rabe to hard-headed horseradish and kohlrabi.
Locally grown spicy greens are on their way out right now, but with store-bought mizuna or arugula, this North African-inspired salad topped with cumin-laced roasted cauliflower, dates and a honeyed dressing is fitting for a light dinner anytime of year.
Mizuna Salad with Cumin-Roasted Cauliflower
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size florets (about 4 cups)
5 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (divided)
1-3/4 tsp. ground cumin (divided)
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch mizuna, large stems removed, or 1 (5-oz.) package baby arugula (about 12 cups loosely packed)
4 fresh or dried dates, pitted and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1-1/2 teaspoons of the cumin, and toss to coat evenly, then spread in a single layer. Roast the cauliflower, stirring once or twice, for about 15 minutes, until golden brown and tender but not mushy. Taste a floret for doneness; larger florets may take slightly longer to cook.
While the cauliflower is roasting, make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cumin, and the pepper. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.
In a serving bowl, combine the roasted cauliflower, mizuna, and dates, drizzle with the dressing, and toss to coat evenly. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
— From “Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More” by Laura B. Russell (Ten Speed Press, $23)