This recipe appears in:Spice Hunting: Sumac
Labne is a Lebanese cow's milk cream cheese made from yogurt. It's less tart than American cream cheeses but it's ridiculously unctuous. While delicious with sumac all on its own, I wanted to add some texture and nutty sweetness with a purée of cauliflower, roasted into golden brown vegetable candy. Sumac's fruitiness gives the cauliflower much-needed dimensionality, and its tartness cuts through the rich labne.
You can serve this with crackers for a quick-and-easy appetizer, or as a dip for a vegetable course. I enjoy it with roast beets doused in vinegar, and other light vegetables like asparagus that have enough going on to stand up to an intense dip.
When prepping your cauliflower, cut it into smaller pieces than if you were to serve it roasted. This increases the surface area available for browning and gives a much stronger flavor to the spread. If you can't find labne, cream cheese will work here, though you'll probably need less lemon.
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small chunks (about 6 cups)
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup labne
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, to taste
- 1 tablespoon sumac, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 450°F. Lay cauliflower in roasting pan and coat with olive oil and heavy pinch salt. Roast until edges are nutty brown and paring knife inserted into cauliflower offers no resistance, about 30 minutes.
Transfer cauliflower and remaining oil in pan to food processor along with labne, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and sumac. Pulse until puré forms, leaving some small chunks of cauliflower intact. Add parsley and pulse until integrated. Adjust seasoning with lemon, sumac, and salt. Spread can be served warm, room temperature, or chilled. Sprinkle on extra sumac just before serving.