The flavor base of this cauliflower “fried rice” with quail eggs and pistachio consists of bell pepper, carrot and celery sauteed in butter and olive oil. The colors are beautiful, the flavors are amazing and the texture will not fail to excite the taste buds. It’s ovo-lacto vegetarian and keto diet friendly too if those two terms are important to you.
I cooked this for Sam but I made enough to make sure we can sample the dish too. It’s not very often that a vegetarian dish excites me but this one did. Maybe, it’s the quail eggs. Or, perhaps, the toasted pistachio nuts.
Or it may be the ultra aromatic flavor base. Speedy was watching TV while I was cooking, he was too far away to see what I was doing and he had his back to the kitchen too. But when the carrot, celery and bell pepper started to soften in the mixture of butter and olive oil, he turned his head halfway and asked what I was making. Apparently, the smell got to him. Just one more proof that we “eat” with our noses too before the food enters our mouth.
And that should give you a hint about which part of the cooking process for this dish is the most important. Yep, it’s the flavor base. You have to be patient to allow the vegetables to soften slightly and flavor the mixture of butter and olive oil.
A tip before the recipe. It’s about the cauliflower. When I made cauliflower “fried rice” in the past, I used a vegetable chopper to cut the cauliflower in small uniform pieces. It turns out that if you just use a knife, the coarser and not-so-uniform pieces of cauliflower give the dish a better mouth-feel. I’ll leave it to you though to use a chopper for convenience and faster preparation, or hand chop for better texture.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- herb salt (Mediterranean blend) to taste (plain salt will do but the dish will not be as tasty)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 and 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower
- 6 to 8 baby tomatoes quartered
- 10 quail eggs hard-boiled and shelled
- 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted pistachio nuts coarsely chopped
- snipped cilantro to garnish (optional)
Over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil in a frying pan.
Spread the bell pepper, carrot and celery on the bottom of the frying pan. Sprinkle with herb salt and pepper. Cook for a minute, stir occasionally, until softened. The process should take about five minutes.
Stir in the chopped cauliflower. Sprinkle in a little water. Season with more salt and pepper.
Cover the pan and let the cauliflower cook in the steam.
Toss in the baby tomatoes, quail eggs and half of the pistachio nuts. Continue cooking until the tomatoes and eggs are heated through.
Off the heat, taste and add more herb salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve the cauliflower fried rice topped with the remaining pistachio nuts and, optionally, some snipped cilantro.