Sunday, March 14, 2021

Pan Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins, Almonds, Capers and Fresh Herbs


Adding fresh herbs to your cooking repertoire seems to feel daunting and although cookbooks abound on the idea, don’t bother with them, just follow your taste buds. Mine led me to this amazing cauliflower dish that apparently originates from a famous New York chef. I just know it was so delicious I may have eaten a whole head of cauliflower for dinner that night!

Raisins, almonds, and capers with cauliflower is a traditional Sicilian pairing, truly, no lie. But add in a bunch of fresh chopped herbs and this dish is something special. Fresh herbs are like citrus, they enliven all that they touch!

The original recipe called for fresh breadcrumbs toasted in butter, and while it was good, I felt disinclined to make them the second time and I found I didn’t miss them. For me, the star of the dish were the raisins simmered in a vinegar butter bath that plumps them into delicious sweet tangy bites that are mind-blowing with the crunch of almonds and the brine of capers, alongside the cauliflower and assorted herbs! This is truly a dish where you will want to fish around to get all of those flavors and textures in each bite!

Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins, Almonds, Capers and Fresh Herbs (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

(Serves 3-4)

1 medium sized head cauliflower

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons raisins (dark or golden)

2 tablespoons capers, drained

2 tablespoons tarragon, minced

2 tablespoons chives, minced

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced

2 tablespoons almond, roughly chopped (optional: dry toast them in a stovetop pan)

Grated pecorino romano (optional)



Heat a large cast iron pan over medium low heat for 3-5 minutes. Core the cauliflower, break into florets, cut each in half, and add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Place florets cut side down and cover and allow to sear for 5-7 minutes. Remove cover, and allow excess moisture to drop into the pan, gently flip and florets, adding more oil as necessary and salt. Cover and allow the other side of florets to sear. Cook for another 7-9 minutes on this side until cauliflower is easily pierced with a knife or fork but not mushy. Turn off heat and allow to steam in the pan.

While Cauliflower is cooking, heat butter and white wine vinegar over low heat and stir in raisins. They should begin to plump as they absorb liquid. Once they have all plumped, turn off heat and leave in pan. When cauliflower is cooked, combine in a large bowl with raisins (you can strain off the cooking liquid or drizzle it over the cauliflower), and add almonds, herbs, capers, cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. 



Amy Doo said...

This looks fabulous! I assume the capers used are packed in liquid brine and not straight-up salt. I'm definitely putting this in my April menu planning, as I think fresh tarragon would completely elevate this dish beyond mere maudlin kitchen foolery. I've been perusing your blog since 2012 (first time commenter) and am revisiting the Grasshopper Pie tonight with my own modifications. Thank you for keeping up with the amazing recipes all these years and keeping a good number of them vegan.

Kirsten Lindquist said...

Thanks for stopping by! Definitely brined capers, I prefer them. Glad you enjoyed this!