Braised Cauliflower with Anchovies and Capers

This is a go-to side dish, with tons of flavor but also a lot of compatibility. It goes with so many things (scroll down for ideas). 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.  

Braised Cauliflower

Vegetarian Braised Cauliflower

If you want a vegetarian version do skip the anchovies and use vegetable broth.

Seasoning Braised Cauliflower

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.

Braised Cauliflower

How to Make Braised Cauliflower

Cut the cauliflower into 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 7 minutes.

Braised Cauliflower

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.

Braised Cauliflower

Stir the garlic mixture 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.

Braised Cauliflower

Pour in the wine and give everything a stir.

Add the broth and bring to a simmer.

Braised Cauliflower

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 5 to 8 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.

Braised Cauliflower

Stir in or sprinkle over the parsley or arugula (if using), Serve hot or warm.

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.

Braised Cauliflower

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 (it’s 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.

What to Serve with Braised Cauliflower:

Braised Cauliflower

Other Easy Cauliflower Side Dishes:

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Braised Cauliflower

Sauteing then braising cauliflower results in a tender but also caramelized simple side dish.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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
  • ¼ cup 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)

Directions

  • Cut the cauliflower into 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 7 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 5 to 8 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.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 268mg | Potassium: 352mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 926IU | Vitamin C: 60mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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