If it were only up to me, I would have given this dish 5 stars for flavor. But Gail's exact words were, "This is really strange. I give it 3 stars". So, we average it out and it gets 4 stars for flavor instead. I do agree with Gail in that this is by far the strangest dish we've had since I started this meal kit journey. Despite the odd mix of flavors, though, I could have eaten this all night long!
I pressed Gail to give me more feedback, and we concluded that the pickled shallots were the deal-breaker for her. The vinegary taste was just too overwhelming in her mind. I think if we'd skipped that, or put only a tiny bit in the dish, she would have enjoyed it more. Plus, the feta cheese gives it a bit of a tangy bite anyway, so I'm not sure the pickled shallot is necessary.
Farro? Za'Atar? Aleppo? Labneh? What???
I'd never had - or heard of - farro before. It reminds me of quinoa or couscous. I really liked it.
I'd never heard of za'atar spice mix before, but it's flavorful, and could work well with many dishes. It consists of ground sumac, sesame seeds, salt, ground thyme, whole dried oregano, and crushed aleppo pepper. Aleppo Pepper is another thing I'd never heard of.
I'd also never heard of labneh cheese, but it seems to just be a thick yogurt, so it wasn't all that odd, really.
Oh So Good
The dates...oh my, the dates. They were insanely fantastic. They made the dish, in my opinion. I now want to put dates in EVERYTHING.
I thought the combination of sweet dates, savory cauliflower and farro, pungent garlic, kicking spices, nutty almonds, and tangy pickled shallot was a real winner. Odd...true, but delicious. It might be even better without the pickled shallot though, as Gail believes, so I would leave it out next time to see how that would turn out.
It's an attractive dish as well. I like the way it looks on the plate.
I know I'd eat this a lot, given the chance. Even though the flavor mixture seems odd, I'd recommend trying it out.