Any time capers mingle with anchovies and garlic, I’m happy. You may think these are very strong flavors, but when they are used sparingly they just add a lovely layer of salty/savory flavor to whatever dish they grace. When I serve this to my family, do I mention that there are anchovies in here? Nope, I don’t. Do they think it’s delicious? Yup, they do.
The cauliflower is browned in the pan before it’s braised, and you should not cook it too long in the liquid, so it retains its great, firm texture. If you want a vegetarian version do skip the anchovies and use vegetable broth.
I was making this for the second time when I realized I had not fresh parsley, so I grabbed a bag of baby arugula from the fridge (one of my favorite lettuces and ingredients) and it was a very happy amendment. In fact, it made me realize that chopped arugula is a great alternative to chopped parsley on any number of dishes, offering a different slightly bitter and bracing green note. I’ll be keeping extra arugula on hand for just this purpose.
This would be a nice change-of-pace side dish for a holiday meal. I haven’t tried it with other color versions of cauliflower, but I’m going to.
Also, if you are ever in the business of putting together an antipasti platter, this would be a fabulous addition (its also great at room temperature). I said this earlier, but it’s worth saying again – don’t overcook it. Remember that it will continue to soften after it’s removed from the heat, so take that into account when deciding when you’re calling it done.
Braised Cauliflower with Anchovies and Capers
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons capers drained
- Coarse or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 4 anchovies rinsed and minced
- Splash dry white wine
- 1 cup less-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley or 1 cup baby arugula leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
- Cut the cauliflower into small florets.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy stockpot over medium high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally (not too often!) until it starts to lightly brown in some spots, about 5 minutes. Shove the cauliflower to one side and add the garlic, capers, and anchovies so that they hit the bottom of the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Stir into the olive oil until the garlic turns golden and you can smell everything. Stir the mixture into the cauliflower, and season with salt and pepper, so that the anchovy mixture coats the vegetables.
- Pour in the wine and give everything a stir. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, and reduce the heat so the liquid remains at a simmer. Cook until the cauliflower is just tender but not mushy, from 8 to 10 minutes. If there is more than ½ cup liquid left, remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon and simmer the remaining liquid until there is less than ½ cup, then pour it over the cauliflower. Stir in or sprinkle over the parsley or arugula (if using), Serve hot or warm.
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