Passover Treats from a Chef and Fridge Forager
This egg-based dish is a favorite in Persian cuisine. It’s similar to a frittata or omelet, but with more vegetables and herbs and less egg. It can be the center of a vegetarian meal, a side dish or even appetizers cut into small bites. It’s an easy dish to adapt. Chop and sauté whatever vegetables you have at hand – such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, or potatoes. You can also vary the kinds and quantities of herbs, using dried if necessary. This recipe can easily be cut in half and baked in a 9×9 pan. The cooked kuku can be refrigerated for up to five days or frozen up to a month. To serve, defrost if needed and heat in a 350-degree oven, covered for the first 10 minutes, then uncovered, for another 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced (about 3 to 4 cups)
- 2 medium heads cauliflower (about 4 to 4 1/2 pounds)
- 2 cups chopped mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, dill or cilantro (about 2 to 3 ounces)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup crumbled feta (about 5 ounces) or shredded parmesan (about 3 ounces) (optional)
Place the oven rack in the middle and preheat to 350 degrees.
Wash the cauliflower and pat dry. Cut the head in half from top to bottom, then cut the florets away from the core and coarsely chop the florets. Dice small any stems attached to the florets as well as the entire core.
Wash and fully dry the herbs. Except for the basil, pick each from large stems and chop, including the small stems, small but not too fine. Chiffonade the basil, cutting it into long, thin ribbons.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes soft and translucent but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped cauliflower and mix to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is softened to al dente, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the salt, pepper and chopped herbs and mix well.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until just starting to foam. Add the cauliflower mixture and cheese, if using, and mix well.
Swirl 1 tablespoon oil in 9-1/2-by-13-1/2-inch glass baking dish, then place it in the hot oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Heating the pan with the oil helps create a crust on the bottom and sides of the casserole.
Remove the hot baking dish from the oven. Working quickly, pour in the cauliflower mixture and spread it out patting the top smooth. Lightly brush the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, or until the center is firm and the edges golden brown.
Let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting, if serving immediately. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8-10 as a main dish, 12-15 as a side