I realized as I visited the blog where I originally saw this recipe for the nth time last night that this is one of my favorite sides and I would like to share it with you.  It’s one of those dishes that only half makes it to my table since I tend to nibble during preparation, one of those I pick at out of the bowl when I am totally stuffed and clearing dishes, and then get back into after dessert if there are possibly any leftovers that made it into the fridge.  In other words, addictive.  It is also adaptable, flexible and delicious at any temperature.  I make it when I find I have a head of cauliflower that I purchased on a semi-whim (we LIKE cauliflower) with no plan, then realize I happen to have all the ingredients to put this dish together, no planning needed.  Sound perfect?  Almost.

I’ll admit, the prep for it is a little involved.  But, very doable in steps over an extended [play/fussy/nap]time.  And, you can feel free to stop whenever.  The original recipe calls for 5 garnishes for the cauliflower – raisins, capers, almonds, breadcrumbs, and herbs – but I can assure you it is delicious with one, three or even none of them.  Making them all transforms this dish into something super special, however, so make sure to bookmark this and do it all one day.

 

 

 

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

  • olive oil
  • butter
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 slice bread, crumbed
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 3 stalks parsley
  1. Cauliflower: Trim the leaves off the head and place on the cutting board.  Use a long knife to cut into 1″ thick slabs.  Then go back and remove the core from the center slabs so you end up with flat florets.  This is important to optimize surface area for browning.  Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a wide bottomed skillet (I used my wok).  Add enough cauliflower to make one layer across the bottom and arrange it so all pieces are touching the bottom (may have to do this in batches).  Cook a few minutes without turning until browned.  Then flip and cook the other side.  You want them to caramelize.  Season with salt and pepper and remove to a big bowl.
  2. Almonds:  Cut whole almonds into thirds.  Using your hot pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a splash of olive oil.  Fry almonds until browned.  Season with salt and pepper, and add to the cauliflower.
  3. Breadcrumbs:  Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Add breadcrumbs and toast until golden and crunchy.  Remove to separate bowl.
  4. Raisins: Melt one Tbsp of butter with the vinegar and 2 Tbsp water.  Add raisins and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Add to the cauliflower.
  5. Capers: Just toss them in with the cauliflower.  Its OK if you get a little caper juice in there, its nice and salty.  If yours are salt packed, you better rinse them first.  Mine were brined like pickles.
  6. Parsley: Wash thoroughly, dry and use kitchen scissors to snip directly into cauliflower.
  7. Mix up what all you have in the cauliflower bowl.  Add bread crumbs to the top at the last minute, and tell me you can’t resist this stuff.
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