Serious Eats: Recipes

Cauliflower and Chickpea Tapas with Parsley-Fennel Mayonnaise

Note: Michael Natkin of the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious drops by every Wednesday to share a delicious recipe and expand our vegetarian repertoire.

[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

With the holiday party season in full swing, everyone can use a few great finger-food ideas. Little appetizers like these are eaten in a bite or two, so I like for them to have big flavors that grab you immediately.

These tapas of toasted baguette with homemade parsley-fennel mayonnaise, bites of caramelized cauliflower cooked with saffron, and chickpeas simmered in mandarin juice with smoked paprika will definitely get your guests attention. They are rich and intense, with a Spanish vibe, and much more decadent than your typical vegetarian appetizer.

The recipe shows you how to make the mayonnaise from scratch. If you or your guests aren't comfortable with the safety of eating raw egg, you can use pasteurized eggs (available in the refrigerator section of many grocery stores) or simply puree the herbs with prepared mayo or even Vegenaise (which is actually quite tasty).

When you break down the cauliflower, the florets will look nicer if you use your hands rather than a knife. Snapping them leaves the shape intact. You will likely end up with extra cooked cauliflower and chickpeas. You won't be sad, they make great leftovers.

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