Monday, July 19, 2010

Pizzeria Delfina's Spicy Cauliflower

I was an odd child as far as food goes (okay, in many ways, but this is about food).  There were certain things I didn't like the texture of (tomatoes for one) but I have always loved cauliflower.  I loved to eat it raw - also loved raw cabbage and turnips.  Like I said, weird.  So I often find myself picking up a cauliflower without any plans for it.  Many years ago I had a favorite Moosewood recipe that was a macaroni and cheese with cauliflower and tomatoes.  Then a few years ago I stumbled upon Crackling Cauliflower at Whole Foods and that became a household favorite.  I love to roast cauliflower with just some olive oil, salt and pepper -  it's amazingly good.  A couple of weeks ago I tossed it on the grill - equally delicious.  In our CSA this past week we were given a beautiful golden cauliflower called "Cheddar Cauliflower" so I needed to find a good recipe for it.

I really wanted to try something new so after a bit of poking around online I found this recipe from Pizzeria Delfina.  I don't usually fry anything but I did want to give it a try as written.  I would definitely make this again but I think next time I would just roast it in the oven. I find that roasted at a high heat it gets every bit as good this fried in oil one.

Pizzeria Delfina Spicy Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
Extra-virgin olive oil or mixture of canola and extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup drained capers, dried
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon chile flakes
Thinly sliced pickled Calabrese peppers (optional; see Note)

Cut the cauliflower in large even-size florets by cutting around the core, down around the stem. Dry well with a clean dish towel if wet or damp.
Place a metal strainer over a bowl. In a wide shallow pan with a heavy bottom, pour 1/2 inch oil. Heat the olive oil on high heat until very hot but not smoking.
Place the cauliflower in the pan and cook on high heat until it begins to brown, about 1 minute, then reduce to medium/medium-high and continue cooking until it is deeply brown all over, flipping over to fry all sides, 8-10 minutes total. Season well with salt. The oil should stay bubbly hot. By the time the cauliflower is deeply browned, it should be pretty much cooked through.
When the cauliflower is 1-2 minutes from being done, add the parsley, capers and garlic. Cook until the garlic has browned, then add the chile flakes.
Immediately drain into the strainer. Allow to drain well before seasoning with salt to taste and tossing with the peppers, if using.
Note: Tutto Calabria whole jarred chile peppers are available at Lucca Delicatessen in San Francisco and online.


Vic Robinson said...

Cauliflower is wonderful! So underrated. This dish looks fantastic!

Stacey said...

Delicious! I like cauliflower sauteed with Indian Spices. There is also a very good Cauliflower Cheese Soup from one of the Moosewood Cookbooks.

Guinnah said...

I agree HayMarket - it can be done in so many ways and take on so many flavors. I love it.

Stacey - have you ever tried the Whole Foods Cookbook crackling cauliflower? It uses Indian spices plus red onion and peas...it's so good..

Danielle said...

Wow, this looks FANTASTIC! I love the idea of using capers for a flavorful twist.