Adapted from The Splendid Table, this is a fun way to take cauliflower from a rather unexciting side dish to a festive vegetable. In full disclosure, I love cauliflower in any form. Whether it is served in a soup, fried, roasted, mashed like potatoes, or simply steamed, I find it all good. Because of its pale color color however; it often makes for a less than exciting dinner presentation. This recipe, however, makes it fun and encourages everyone to eat their vegetables.
I steamed the head of cauliflower whole and served it on a platter topped with my sauce dished out family style. If you prefer you can cut it up before cooking, top it with the sauce, then present it on individual plates along side your entree. Either way, the lively combination of tomatoes, peppers, and capers mixed with fresh herbs will ensure that you never think of cauliflower as a bland vegetable again.
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed of leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 sweet green peppers, cut into a 1/4 inch dice
2 red tomatoes, diced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons capers, drained
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
- To steam the cauliflower, place a folding steamer basket in a large pot and add in 2 inches of water. Cover the pot an bring to a boil.
- Using 2 spatulas, ease the cauliflower into the steamer basket. Cover the pot and steam for about 8 minutes or until the cauliflower is barely tender.
- Remove the cauliflower from the steamer and drain. Place the cauliflower on a platter and let it cool for 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and saute just until the garlic just begins to turn golden brown. Remove the garlic from the pan and discard.
- Add the peppers, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until they begin to soften.
- Turn the heat to high and add the oregano and basil, generously season with salt and pepper, and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the vinegar and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the capers and parsley and spoon over the top of the cauliflower.
- To serve, slice the head of cauliflower at the table.