Sicilian Style Cauliflower is a twist on a traditional combination of ingredients cauliflower being the primary ingredient, seasoned with the flavors of Sicily. It is simple to prepare and can be served as a contorini or side dish, combined with pasta, or a topping for bruschetta. The recipe can be adjusted easily to accommodate your specific taste and can be prepared in advance.
Start with fresh organic cauliflower, preferably from your local farmers market. Select cauliflower which is creamy in color with little or no visible dark spotting. Sicilian Style Cauliflower uses the florets only, which should be cut into relatively equal sized pieces for even roasting. Seasoning the cauliflower florets with salt, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil enhances the flavor of the vegetable once roasted.
Capers, pine nuts, currants, olive oil and lemon are the essential elements to give this dish a Sicilian spin. The amounts listed in the recipe are merely a guideline and may be adjusted according to you personal preference. Once the cauliflower has been roasted, adding it while hot will allow it to best absorb the flavors.
At serving time, the flavors of the dish are brightened with a squeeze of lemon juice, some chopped Italian parsley leaves and toasted bread crumbs. Sicilian Style Cauliflower is an excellent side dish with roasted meats, fish, or as a vegetarian entree. When using with pasta, set aside and use a little of the pasta cooking water to help create a more viscus sauce.
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- 3 pounds of fresh cauliflower, generally 2 small to medium sized cauliflower
- 5 Tbs. Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup Capers, rinsed and drained
- ⅓ cup Currants plumped in warm water and drained
- ⅓ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 4 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley leaves
- 1 fresh lemon
- Preheat the oven to 425º and line two heavy duty baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Wash the cauliflower, remove the core and cut into relatively equal sized florets. Divide the cauliflower florets between the two baking sheets, be careful not to crowd them (if they are too close, the florets tend to steam rather than brown properly). Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Give the cauliflower a good stir to be sure it is coated with the olive oil and seasoning. Place the baking sheets into the preheated oven and roast until they are a deep golden brown, generally about 30 minutes depending upon your oven. Halfway through the roasting process, open the oven door and give the florets a good stir to be sure that they are roasting uniformly.
- While the cauliflower is resting place the plumped currants, pine nuts and half of the parsley leaves into the serving bowl you are planning to use.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and lightly brown the sliced garlic, add the browned garlic slices to the serving bowl. Reserve the olive oil.
- Add the fresh bread crumbs to the remaining olive oil which has been seasoned by the garlic and toast until golden, stirring several times. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Once the cauliflower is golden brown, remove immediately and add to the serving bowl along with any olive oil and bits that are on the parchment paper. Give the contents a good stir to combine well and allow the cauliflower to absorb the flavors.
- Cut the lemon into half and and squeeze over the mixture, stirring gently to combine. Taste the dish and adjust for salt and pepper as needed.
- Cut the remaining half of the lemon into wedges to garnish the serving bowl. Top with the toasted breadcrumbs and remaining chopped parsley and serve.
- This dish can be made earlier in the day, however add the lemon juice and toast breadcrumbs at the last moment. It may be served at room temperature or warmed slightly.
- If using with pasta, prepare without the breadcrumbs and final touch of parsley. Select a pasta such as rigatoni and prepare it to the al dente stage. Immediately add the cooked pasta to the Sicilian Style Cauliflower and combine it thoroughly - add a bit of the pasta cooking water if you feel it is needed. Top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the toasted breadcrumbs and remaining parsley, serve immediately.