30 January 2012

hello, cauliflower

The only way my mother ever used to serve my little brother and I cauliflower was steamed with a crust of butter and bread crumbs. Which is fine but all you ever want to eat is the crust and the cauliflower is simply there. Like a mediocre back-up singer. Or something. 

Jamie Oliver taught me this neat trick (cuz we're like pals 'n stuff) where you make a really exciting cauliflower dish. Then I tweaked it a bit to accommodate my love of kale and illustrate my disdain for olives.


1 red onion, peeled and sliced
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 head of cauliflower, outer green leaves discarded
olive oil 
3-4 good quality salted anchovy fillets in oil, drained and sliced (these are going to disintegrate into your dish, you will not, i repeat not, bite into an anchovy) (also, if you are looking to make this vegan, just add salt instead, you will lose a bit of depth, but nothing to cry over)
a handful of fresh parsley, leaves roughly chopped and stalks finely chopped (normally this is where I say "pffft, dried works just as well", but in this case, if you can, try to get ahold of fresh parsley - the excess will freeze nicely)
3 leaves of kale, big vein removed and ripped into large-ish pieces 
2 x 14oz cans of good quality chopped plum tomatoes 
red wine vinegar (not essential) 
Find yourself a pan in which the entire cauliflower can fit into, leaving an inch or two around the outside of it (I use a dutch oven). Add onion, garlic, and a heavy-handed splash of olive oil to the pan and slowly fry for 10 minutes. Add anchovies, kale and parsley stalks and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, and if your pot is looking a little too shallow, fill one of the cans half full with water and add that as well. Also, this is were you add a swig of red wine vinegar if you feel so inclined. Stir everything together, breaking the tomatoes down with a spoon to make sure there are no unmanageable lumps. Bring to a boil. 

Take your cauliflower (hello, cauliflower) and gently push it into the sauce you have just created, you wonderful chef, you. About half of the cauliflower should be in the sauce and a about half of the cauliflower should be popping out of the sauce. Drizzle the revealed half with olive oil and put a lid of the pan/pot/dutch oven. Adjust heat to low and leave it be for approximately 50 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley leaves.


Recipe adapted from Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook by Jamie Oliver (New York: Hyperion, 2007). Image from Google Images. 

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