This garlicky, nutty and rich dish is not for the faint-hearted!
¾ cup unskinned almonds
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 slice sourdough or well-textured bread
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Finely grated zest 1 lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small green or white cauliflower
½-1 cup hot water (use water from blanching cauliflower)
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
6 black olives in olive oil, drained, pitted and cut into slivers
Lemon juice, optional
Smoked paprika for serving, optional
1 Put almonds in a small pan, cover with water and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave until cool enough to handle. Flick off the skins. Roughly chop almonds.
2 Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add slice of bread and fry quickly on each side until brown. Transfer to a board and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cool. If the crusts are hard, cut them off. Crumble remaining bread.
3 Put almonds and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add bread, lemon zest and a couple of pinches of salt and process again to mix. With the machine running, dribble in the extra virgin olive oil through the feed tube.
4 Cut cauliflower into florets, halving large ones. Blanch in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes – keep the cauliflower on the firm side, but not raw and hard. Drain over a bowl, reserving some cooking water for the sauce.
5 With machine running on the food processor, add ½ cup or more of the hot cooking liquid to the sauce. It will be lumpy and a little bit claggy – that’s how it should be (though add as much liquid as you want. Stir in parsley and olives, taste and adjust salt, or add a few squirts of lemon juice for a brighter flavour. Transfer sauce to a large mixing bowl and add drained cauliflower. Stir to coat with sauce then transfer to a serving bowl. Dust with smoked paprika and serve.