Coliflor a la Brasa

Coliflor a la Brasa

David Loftus

Charred Cauliflower. Cauliflower can take on so many flavours when charred. Here, a nutty crust, a sweetish middle and a flicker of bitter scents, all smothered in a creamy herb sauce, make for a perfect starter or side dish.


Quantity Ingredient
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil, for grilling
3 tablespoons raw peanuts

For the huacatay herb paste (makes about 100g)

Quantity Ingredient
A large bunch huacatay herb
or a small bunch each of coriander, tarragon, mint and parsley
20ml red wine vinegar

For the uchucuta sauce (makes about 300ml)

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 medium-heat red chillies, finely chopped
125g baby spinach leaves, blanched
20g queso fresco or feta, crumbled
50ml huacatay paste
1 large ripe beef tomato, finely chopped


  1. Put the cauliflower florets in a steamer and steam for about 8 minutes until just al dente, then plunge the florets into a bowl of iced water to stop them from cooking. Allow the cauliflower to cool for 5 minutes, then drain. Alternatively, put the cauliflower into a colander and set under running cold water until it has cooled down completely.
  2. Make the huacatay paste. Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender with 10ml of water. Blitz until you have a smooth paste. Add a splash more water to loosen, if necessary. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
  3. Make the uchucuta sauce. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and sauté for about 8–10 minutes until the onion has softened and the garlic is soft but not browned. Tip the contents of the pan into a food processor or blender and add the spinach, cheese and huacatay paste. Blitz until coarse, then stir in the tomato and set aside.
  4. Heat a large griddle pan until it is too hot to hold your hand over. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower and toss the florets briefly so that they are evenly covered. Put the florets on the griddle and cook for 5–6 minutes, turning regularly, until they are all charred in places. (You can also do this on a barbecue.)
  5. Toast the peanuts in a dry frying pan for 1–2 minutes until lightly coloured, then tip them into a mortar and use a pestle to crush coarsely.
  6. Serve the cauliflower in a bowl sprinkled with the crushed toasted peanuts, with the uchucuta sauce on the side.
Martin Morales
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