Lunchbreak: Roasted cauliflower, prepared by Chopping Block chef Mario Scordato and details about the Chicago Flower and Garden Show

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Chef Mario Scordato

The Chopping Block

The Chopping Block has two locations: The Merchandise Mart (The Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 107, Chicago) and Lincoln Square (4747 N. Lincoln, Chicago).

Chicago Flower and Garden Show
March 18-26
Navy Pier

Chef Scordato is presenting on opening day of the show, March 18, at 1:30 p.m.

Roasted Cauliflower with Preserved Lemons and Chickpeas

1 pound cauliflower florets, can be frozen and then thawed
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon Zaatar spice blend
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 of a preserved lemon (just the rind), chopped fine (can buy this in a jar)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3-4 Tablespoons Cilantro leaves
extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to taste as well as a little more zaatar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower florets, the olive oil, the zaatar, and the salt and pepper together. Spread onto a parchment lined sheet tray and roast for 10-12 minutes until slightly brown, yet still firm. Let the cauliflower cool slightly. In serving bowl, add the preserved lemon, chickpeas and the cilantro. Add the roasted cauliflower and gently toss together. Dress the mixture with olive oil and lemon juice to taste (using a 3:1 ratio oil to juice) and add a bit more zaatar if needed. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Cauliflower with Pancetta, Golden Raisins, and Almonds

1 lb. cauliflower florets, can be previously blanched and frozen
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. pancetta, diced
1 shallot, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Set your oven to 375.  In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out evenly on a sheet tray and roast until slightly brown, 7-8 minutes.  Set the cauliflower aside. In a large saute pan, add the pancetta and cook over medium high heat until slightly crispy.  Add the shallot and saute until the shallot is lightly browned.  Add the garlic and the raisins, stirring regularly as not to allow the garlic to burn. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and add the reserved cauliflower, the parsley and the toasted almonds.  Toss gently to incorporate all of the ingredients and serve warm.

Recipes courtesy of Chef Mario Scordato, The Chopping Block