Monday, July 26, 2010
Cauliflower with Raisins, Capers, Almonds and Chives
This week has been pretty busy. It was deadline at the magazine, the plastic guard-thing under my car somehow (somehow meaning i'm looking at YOU Alice) ripped halfway off and now drags along the ground as I drive, the much anticipated 80's prom themed tapas party at Rach's house was fast approaching and it was the Sydney Aroma Festival on Sunday. Not to mention my sister Maddie returned from a month in sun-drenched Europe the lucky sausage, (she did bring me back gorgeous Italian anchovies though!) Needless to say, I didn't have much time to cook.
That being said, you know those nights when you don't really care about what you have for dinner, you just want it to be good. Good as in comforting, smack bang full of flavour and not too high up in the difficulty stakes. Good as in you could easily sit in front of re-runs of Australia's Next Top Model with a huge bowl of the stuff, a nice glass of wine, and be more than content.
Well this is one of those dishes. Cauliflower on its own is not particularly inspiring. But paired with the crunchy breadcrumbs, almonds, sweet-yet sour raisins, salty baby capers and handfuls of fresh chopped herbs, it's awe inspiring. Up until now, the only cauliflower that has ever passed my lips has been mostly cauliflower cheese; roasted and smothered in bechamel sauce. Delicious to say the least, but it's time to jazz up this vegetable once and for all.
Cauliflower with Raisins, Capers, Almonds and Chives:
Adapted from Gramercy Tavern NYC via smittenkitchen.com
Serves three as side dish
1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons fresh soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons whole almonds (I used slivered, then you don't need to chop them)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons raisins (I used sultanas)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon (I used mint, to add more freshness)
1 teaspoon finely sliced chives.
squeeze of lemon juice
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Cut cauliflower from top to bottom in 1-inch slices. Place a large ovenproof skillet over low heat and add one tablespoon butter. When it has melted, add bread crumbs and almonds and toss until toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out pan.
Return pan to medium heat. Add remaining one tablespoon olive oil and cauliflower slices. Sauté until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer pan to oven and roast until tender, about 12 minutes (fry in batches if all the cauliflower doesn't fit, you need an even browning.)
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and add raisins, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water. Simmer until raisins are plump and soft, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine almonds, capers, raisins, parsley, mint and chives. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.
Arrange roasted cauliflower on a serving platter. Spoon almond-herb mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Squeeze lemon juice over the top. Serve immediately.