Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins, and Capers

This was a delicious side dish with the meatloaf I made for dinner tonight--the only meatloaf I'll eat because, you know, the two words, "meat" and "loaf" together, just don't sound that good.

I've only had cauliflower steamed with lots of butter and/or cheese, but I love the texture that came with a light saute and some roasting. I made it with almonds and butter, but this recipe could easily be made Top 8 allergen-free with olive oil replacing the butter and pepitas replacing the almonds. I think I'll try it that way next time.

Also, this recipe is a simplified version of what's on the Smitten Kitchen website. Here's what I did because I'm lazy :)

Cauliflower With Almonds, Capers and Raisins
from Smitten Kitchen

1 head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh soft bread crumbs I ground up 2 slices of white bread in the food processor 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons whole almonds or pepitas, I used sliced almonds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper a light sprinkling from the salt shaker and a couple grinds from the pepper mill
2 tablespoons golden raisins I only had craisins
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon didn't have
1 teaspoon finely sliced chives

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 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 toss until toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a plate and wipe out pan. My version: Toast the almonds first in the skillet. Once they start to turn golden, add the breItalicad crumbs and/or olive oil. Then, salt and pepper the crumb/almond mixture and set aside. That will omit steps 1 and 2.

2. Return pan to medium heat and add one teaspoon olive oil. Add almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer almonds to a plate, let cool, and cut each almond into three pieces*; set aside.

3. Wipe out pan and return 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. (I had to brown my cauliflower in batches, not having enough surface area in my pan, but tossed everything back in to roast it.) 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, tarragon and chives. See directions in 4 for what I did here. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.

4. Arrange roasted cauliflower on a serving platter. Spoon almond-herb mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve immediately. When the cauliflower was cooked and the craisin/vinegar/butter (or oil) mixture was done, I put the cauliflower in a serving bowl, poured the craisin dressing on, and after a brief toss of the almonds, capers, chives, parsley, and bread crumbs, I sprinkled all that on top of the cauliflower.

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