Mediterranean beef kebabs with pistachio relish and cauliflower mash
½ ounce sun-dried tomatoes
10 ounces ground beef
1 white onion
Kebab spice blend (baharat – granulated garlic)
1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons roasted pistachios
1 wedge preserved lemon
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Prep the sun-dried tomatoes
In a small bowl, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in 1 cup very hot tap water until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board; set aside the soaking liquid for the cauliflower. Finely chop the tomatoes.
While the tomatoes soak, prepare the beef mixture.
Prep the beef mixture
Cut a small corner from the ground beef packaging and drain off any excess liquid. Transfer to a plate; pat dry with a paper towel.
Peel and finely chop enough white onion to measure 1 cup; set aside half for the cauliflower.
Strip the mint leaves from the stems; coarsely chop the leaves. Set aside half for the pistachio relish.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, sun-dried tomatoes, kebab spice blend, and half each of the onion and mint. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix until just combined. Let stand while you prepare the cauliflower mash and the pistachio relish.
Make the cauliflower mash
Cut the cauliflower into small florets, discarding any leaves or thick stalks.
Coarsely chop the dill.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the cauliflower and remaining onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the reserved tomato soaking liquid, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the cauliflower is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a medium bowl. Using a masher or fork, mash until smooth. Stir in the dill and 1 tablespoon oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. If using the pan for the kebabs, wipe out the pan.
While the cauliflower cooks, prepare the pistachio relish.
Make the pistachio relish
Coarsely chop the pistachios.
Remove any pulp from the preserved lemon; finely chop the peel.
In a small bowl, stir together the pistachios, preserved lemon, remaining mint, sherry vinegar, and 2 to 3 teaspoons oil.
Shape and cook the beef kebabs
Using wet hands, form the beef mixture into 6 ovals; thread each onto a wooden skewer.
In a large grill pan or in the same frying pan used for the cauliflower, warm 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the kebabs and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Transfer the cauliflower mash to individual plates. Top with the beef kebabs and the pistachio relish and serve.
TIP: For an ultra-creamy mash, in Step 3, puree the cooked cauliflower mixture in a blender or food processor, then stir in the dill and oil by hand.