Last March, I was so sad to leave the city of New Orleans to quarantine with family back at home. Just as everyone had told me I would, I had fallen in love with the city. I was devastated to leave it. In the blink of an eye, all of our worlds were turned upside down and I yearned for some comfort. More specifically, I craved some of my New Orleans favorites. With a grumbling stomach and literally nothing else to do, I ventured to my parents’ kitchen to attempt to cook some of my favorite dishes from some New Orleans restaurants.
Pizza Domenica was one of the first restaurants I tried as a freshman at Tulane. It was far enough off campus that I felt like I could get some air. Its happy hour deals are unmatched; I could get an entire gourmet pizza for $7.50. I knew that I couldn’t perfectly replicate the wood-fired pizza at my house, so I settled for my second-favorite dish, which is the wood-roasted cauliflower. The restaurant version is perfectly savory and crisp on the ends, so I was a bit intimidated. I got my hands on a recipe and gave it a try.
I was luckily able to find a recipe used by Domenica/ Pizza Domenica online at GoNola:
– 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 1/4 cup kosher salt
– 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed
Whipped Goat Cheese and Assembly
– 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
– 3 ounces cream cheese
– 3 ounces feta
– 1/3 cup heavy cream
– 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
– Coarse sea salt (for serving)
Preheat oven to 475°. Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
Using 2 slotted spoons or a mesh spider, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet, draining well. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.
While cauliflower is roasting, blend goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, cream, and 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor until smooth; season with sea salt. Transfer whipped goat cheese to a serving bowl and drizzle with oil. (Can be made a day ahead; cover and chill.)
Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with whipped goat cheese.
Here is a photo of my creation:
As you can see, I did not achieve the same perfect exterior as the restaurant does. However, I do think it looks pretty good. I would rate the difficulty level a 6/10. This was not an easy recipe, considering it involved so many ingredients and both poaching and roasting the dish. If you have the time to do it, I would definitely recommend trying it. My feta whip tasted great, but it was definitely not the right consistency. I would say that the homemade cauliflower tastes better than the take-out version that you can buy from the restaurant. But of course, the dine-in version of this dish is the best.
Here is a photo of the restaurant version:
As you can see, the restaurant version has some parmigiano reggiano on top as a garnish. The dish looks delicious. I would rate it a 7/10.