March in the Kitchen – Marak of Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Olives

Marak of Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Olives


Morak of Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Olives

This recipe comes from Paula Wolfert’s “The Food of Morocco” and is part of an ongoing cookbook book club. You will find all the postings connected to various cookbooks on the blog The Cookbook Guru. “The Food of Morocco” is the choice for March and April of this year.

A Marak is a Moroccan vegetable stew. In her introduction to the dish Ms. Wolfert says “Moroccans often steam or pan-roast vegetables in order to preserve their sweet intense flavor and to endow them with a creamy texture. Here juicy bits of preserved lemon and ripe olives embellish pan-roasted cauliflower.” Being a big fan of cauliflower, and having a head in the fridge, I decided to try it. My usual method of cooking cauliflower is tossing with spices and roasting in a hot oven, so this dish was a departure from habit.

I’m not going to wait until the end to tell you it was a big hit. Especially useful is the fact that it is best served at room temperature and can be made ahead. I would definitely serve this as part of a spread of small plates or as a side dish with roast meat.

This would serve 4 as a side, more if part of a larger spread.

Marak of Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Olives

  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 medium cauliflower, trimmed, halved, cored, divided into 1-inch florets, rinsed and drained (about 4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 ripe or canned tomatoes, peeled (I didn’t bother), halved, seeded, chopped and drained
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ cumin seeds, preferable Moroccan (mine weren’t)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Juice of ½ a lemon or to taste
  • ½ a preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp and white pith removed, and slivered
  • 12 green or ripe olives, pitted
  1. Heat the oil in a large straight sided skillet on medium-low heat. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle with sugar. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and the lid, and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium, and continue cooking until all the moisture in the skillet has evaporated and the cauliflower begins to turn golden.
  2. Add the tomatoes and paprika and continue cooking, uncovered, for another 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, crush the cumin seeds (next time I would roast them first) and garlic into a paste with the salt in a mortar or small food processor. Sir in ½ cup of hot water and mix into the paste. Add it to the skillet.
  4. Continue to cook, uncovered, until all the moisture has evaporated and the cauliflower is soft and covered in sauce (about 20 minutes).
  5. Add the parsley and lemon juice, toss, let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes until the flavors mix.
  6. Garnish with olives and sliced preserved lemon.
Marak of Cauliflower

Marak of Cauliflower

14 thoughts on “March in the Kitchen – Marak of Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Olives

  1. Reblogged this on The Cookbook Guru and commented:
    This recipe is for the Cauliflower lovers and the vegetarians out there… a fabulous take on maximising the flavour from this vegetable a la Paula Wolfert. Make sure you check out Liz’s latest post.

    Happy Reading and Happy Cooking,


  2. I didn’t notice this recipe when I read through the book. Thanks so much for highlighting it, it looks absolutely delicious and will definitely now be added to the list of things I want to cook! xx

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