Cauliflower. It's a pretty white vegetable that most of us were served boiled, steamed and frankly, pretty tasteless. But autumn cauliflower has the potential for big flavor, according to former chef and Seattle food writer Sara Dickerman. The trick lies in how you prepare it.
Dickerman's Sicilian-inspired cauliflower features garlic, dried chili peppers and one ingredient you might not expect: anchovies. You can find those little fish either packed in salt or oil. Dickerman says they lend a flavor the Japanese call "umami," a savory boost that's commonly associated with monosodium glutamate. With anchovies, Dickerman says you get the flavor punch without any chemical additives.
The recipe is basic, and a lot of the final touches depend on your personal taste. Dickerman uses several chili peppers for heat, along with plenty of garlic and five anchovy filets. They're sauteed in olive oil, then Dickerman adds one roughly chopped head of cauliflower. Dickerman finishes her dish with golden raisins that have been soaked in a mixture of warm water and balsamic vinegar, pine nuts and whole fennel seeds. Dickerman's Sicilian-inspired dish can be served plain, or over pasta. Enjoy!
Cauliflower With Anchovies, Raisins And Pine Nuts
This Sicilian-inspired cauliflower dish develops incredible flavor from long, slow stovetop cooking with almost no added liquid. You can serve it as a side dish to chicken or fish or use it as a topper for bruschetta or pasta.
1/4 c. golden raisins
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 dried chilies de arbol or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 head cauliflower, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
Salt and pinch of red pepper to taste
Lemon juice, optional
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the balsamic vinegar and warm water.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add in garlic slices, chilies, rosemary, and fennel and stir until fragrant (about 15 seconds). Add in the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is amber-brown and completely tender, about 30 minutes.
Towards the end of cooking, taste and season generously with salt and a pinch of mildly hot red pepper flakes (Aleppo pepper, marash pepper). Pour in the raisins with their soaking liquid and cook until the extra liquid has evaporated. Taste again and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper or a squeeze of lemon. Top with toasted pine nuts.