It took me a while, but I finally figured out the secret to evenly browned, golden roasted cauliflower. Marinating the cauliflower in spices and a generous amount of olive oil for at least four hours prior to cooking, so it’s absorbed instead of resting on top, repelled by the uneven surface of the florets. Marinate the cauliflower the night before your brunch, and all you will have to do when you wake up is fire up the oven and toss it in.
Labneh is a thick Middle Eastern strained yogurt cheese, tangy and ultra-creamy. If you are like me and avoid cow’s milk at all cost, make your own sheep’s milk labneh the night before (since you’re already flexing your planning skills by marinating the cauliflower). Line a fine-mesh sieve with two layers of cheesecloth, dump 1 cup (240 ml) plain sheep’s milk yogurt inside, cover the yogurt with plastic wrap, and set the strainer over a small bowl in the fridge. The excess whey will seep out overnight, and you will wake up to a delightfully rich sheep’s milk labneh in the morning.
- 1 large head cauliflower, leaves and stalk trimmed
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp (60 ml) high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 3/4 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the eggs
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) labneh (sub full-fat Greek yogurt)
- Ground sumac
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
- 4 large organic eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Do Ahead: Separate the cauliflower into florets and toss into a large resealable bag or a mixing bowl.
- In a small dry skillet over low heat, toast the coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and pound until entirely crushed. Add garlic, salt, lemon zest, thyme, and pepper flakes to the mortar and pestle and continue crushing until combined. Add the olive oil and whisk to combine. Pour the spice and oil mixture over the cauliflower in the plastic bag, stir to distribute the oil and seasoning evenly, seal, and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.
- Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450°F.
- Spread the cauliflower on the baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, put 1 tablespoon of the labneh on each plate, shmearing it across the surface of the plate with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle each with a generous pinch of sumac. When the cauliflower is nicely browned and crispy on the edges, remove from the oven and spoon some onto each plate.
- Heat a 12-inch (30.5-cm) cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the grapeseed oil. Swirl to evenly coat the surface. Crack 2 eggs into the pan and cook without moving them for 1 minute, then cover the pan and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the whites are solid but the yolks remain bright yellow and glossy. Repeat with the remaining 2 eggs, adding more oil if needed. Transfer the fried eggs to the plates, season with salt and pepper, and serve.