December 28, 2012 by annmquintero
Ok, 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:
Oven safe pan
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
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.
After 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.)