Savory Sicilian Cauliflower, the PK Way

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Savory Cauliflower the PK WayMy regular readers are quite familiar with my crazy cruciferous ways and my deep affection for cauliflower in particular. I even highlighted it in my “Top 5 Foods for Autumn” in a recent interview on Fox TV.

Many of my favorite cauliflower recipes begin with roasting, which creates a crispy texture and brings out the sweetness of the vegetable. Roasted cauliflower is lovely on its own but is also the beginning for all kinds of scrumptious things. Think: Garlicky Smashed CauliflowerCauliflower Soup with Artichokes and LeeksCauliflower Salad in Three Colors; Cauliflower Soup with Parmigiana and Pesto; Green Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing and Avocado; and Aloo Gobi (Curried Cauliflower with Potatoes and Peas). I’ve even doused it with hot sauce and dipped it in blue cheese dressing for a vegetarian play on buffalo chicken wings.

Today, we take a super savory trip to Sicily in a recipe inspired by Bon Appétit a few years back. Of course, I modified the dish to be better-for-you-and-the-planet-too while also bringing in a few of my own elements. You can find the original story here, or just fast forward below to get to the good stuff: the recipe.

Sicilian Cauliflower


  • 1 small head of white cauliflower
  • 1 small head of Romanescu cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • >1 teaspoon capers (no liquid)
  • whole grain breadcrumbs, from about 2 pieces of bread
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, preferably homemade
  • 1/3 golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup green olives, sliced
  • 4 anchovies, finely minced into a paste) (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, approximate (optional, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped, for garnish


Roast the cauliflower. Preheat oven to 450°. Break cauliflower into medium-sized florets; you should have about 6 cups. Spread florets on a baking pan and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss with your fingers until coated. (Add a bit more oil if needed; they should be lightly coated but not dripping.) Roast until cauliflower is crispy and cooked (but not mushy!), about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. (For more details and photos on roasting cauliflower, click here.)

Prepare the toppingMeanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until just golden and crunchy, about 5 minutes, then add capers and cook 1 more minute. (They may pop.) In the meantime, chop or roughy grate the bread into crumbs and add to garlic-caper miture and stir until fragrant and toasted, about 2–3 minutes. Dump mixture onto a plate for later.

Make the dressing. Add stock and sherry to the same sauce pan (it’s fine if a few errant breadcrumbs remain) and bring to a boil. Add raisins, olives, anchovies, and lemon juice, and simmer until almost fully reduced, about 5 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning with honey for sweetness and balance as desired. Continue reducing until a few teaspoons of liquid remain. Taste and readjust if needed.

Put it together.  Place the cauliflower on a plate and drizzle with raisin mixture. Scatter with crispy topping and garnish with parsley. Drizzle with finishing olive oil and a bit of sherry vinegar if desired.

Can be served warm or at room temperature. Serves about 4.

This plate may not the prettiest out there, I’ll admit (though it does have a certain Jackson Pollack aesthetic happening in my eyes). And its bold flavors may not be for everyone. But if you’re looking for something adventurous, I recommend giving this dish a try. The unique ingredients come together in a way that’s different from anything I’ve ever made with its complex flavors and textures. And, as in all cases, you can alter the recipe to suit your own palate.

Sicilian Cauliflower | PK Way

Roasted cauliflower delivers, yet again.


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Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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