• Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • Time: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking, 30 minutes total

The idea here is to cut a cauliflower into the tiniest florets possible. It’s not difficult, but it takes a little time. Of course, the cauliflower morsels are not really quite as small as couscous, but they are small enough to cook very quickly. A delicate, flavorful side dish.


  • Salt

  • 1 large cauliflower (about 3 pounds)

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • Pinch of cayenne

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste

David Tanis Market Cooking by David Tanis


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, with a paring knife, cut the cauliflower into tiny florets, as small as possible. (Save the stems and other trimmings for making soup.) You should have about 8 cups.

Working in batches, cook the florets in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, until just tender but still firm. Scoop them from the pot with a small strainer or a spider, blot on kitchen towels, and let cool.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Put the cauliflower in a large bowl and season lightly with salt. Drizzle the butter over it and toss gently. (The seasoned cauliflower can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours or covered and refrigerated overnight.)

Transfer the cauliflower to an ovenproof serving dish. Put in the oven and heat through, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the chives and lime juice and serve.

Excerpted from David Tanis Market Cooking by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Evan Sung.