EATS: Cauliflower and… anchovies?!

4

December 28, 2012 by annmquintero

IMG_0179Ok, ok… before you click away, listen up for a second! This is going to be another post about much maligned food items that should really be part of your life. Two of them, in fact! When I mentioned cauliflower to a friend of mine, his reaction was almost visceral. He remembered watery, tasteless, oddly textured steamed cauliflower. I know this cauliflower. This is not the cauliflower we’re making. Cauliflower is one of our beloved cruciferous veggies, and therefore high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and may aid in preventing cancer. And different colors of cauliflower carry extra nutrients; orange has vitamin A and beta carotene and purple has the antioxidant anthocyanin, also found in blueberries, red cabbage, and red wine. When oven-roasted instead of steamed, it takes on a lovely, slightly chewy texture, and the smallest bits even turn a little crispy.

Some of you may have already become anchovy converts, but I know a lot of you are thinking, “Ew? They’re fishy and hairy and smell funny!” Well, here’s the secret of this dish: If you hadn’t made it yourself, you’d never even know they were there. All they’ll taste like is salty, sweet, nutty delicious! And anchovies are wonderfully nutritious too! Full of calcium and vitamin E and omega-3s! Yay, anti-inflammatory!

What you’ll need:

Cutting board
Knife
Slotted spoon
Oven safe pan
-Or-
Skillet and baking sheet/casserole dish.

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
4-5 anchovies in oil, finely chopped -or- 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ lemon
Olive oil
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Parmesan or pecorino (optional)

I chose to use my cast iron for this project because of its stovetop to oven ease. If you’d like to venture into the world of cast iron, I recommend this article for information regarding its maintenance and use.

Preheat oven to 450F. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet on medium-low heat. Add garlic and anchovies. If you’ve opted for chopped anchovies instead of paste, agitate with the spoon and give the little suckers time to break down into a paste. You could also include some red pepper flakes during this process if you want a little more spice in your life.

Once they’ve broken down, add the cauliflower and toss to coat. Even add the little crumbs of cauliflower from the cutting board. Squeeze the half lemon over the top, being careful of seeds. Once coated, transfer the oven-safe skillet to the oven, or transfer contents to a baking sheet or casserole dish and then into the oven.

IMG_0181After 30 minutes, check in on your deliciousness. Remember! Your pan will be SCREAMING hot! Handle with care and big pot holders! Stir. Sprinkle with cheese at this point if you’d like, and return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes. Top with fresh ground pepper and serve. Don’t tell anyone about our fishy little secret!

(If this is your first time reading EATS, I encourage you to check out the Introductions post for my philosophy and list of must-have kitchen items.)

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4 thoughts on “EATS: Cauliflower and… anchovies?!

  1. […] that cauliflower & anchovies post just too far out there?  Did you LOVE the one on Hash?  TELL US!  Use the comments, […]

  2. Would this recipe also expand to mixing the cauliflower with broccoli and Brussels spouts? That trio is my usual go to favorite, but I’m not sure how the other two would stack up against the anchovies. LOVE the anchovies, though!

    • annmquintero says:

      Ooh! Good question! You’ll definitely get a different effect with the broccoli and the Brussels sprouts. I think the sprouts will react especially nicely! I’m hesitating on the broccoli for two reasons: The natural sweetness of broccoli may or may not jive with the anchovies, I’ll have to try it for myself; it may also be a matter of personal taste. Also, because the tops of broccoli florets are so delicate, they may burn more than I’d like with this roasting technique. It’s a fine line between roasty and burny, the latter being significantly less tasty. If you’re just working with peeled and chopped broccoli stems, I think it would probably be quite awesome!

      Hope that was helpful! Please let me know how your experimenting goes!

  3. […] we Amazons never talked about the simplest of all things. Roasting veggies! (Yeah, ok, we roasted cauliflower, garlic, and butternut squash, but this is me backtracking and talking about the general […]

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