Just a Lonely Little Head of Cauliflower

March 13, 2009

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This turned out to be one of those “What have I got to lose?” experiments that turned into something fantastic!

As is usually the case, as winter wears on it gets harder and harder to keep the vegetables dishes varied and interesting. Not only are there less fresh in-season choices, but everything seems to be more expensive than it should be. And for as much as I enjoy Brussels sprouts and cabbage and rutabagas and the like….to keep myself (and those I’m feeding!) interested, both from a cooking *and* from a taste-buds-and-mouth-feel stand-point, I feel it’s important to change it up now and again.

To my way of thinking: it’s better to experiment, even if it results in a lackluster outcome once-in a while, than to keep serving the same foods–particularly those few fresh winter vegetables–over and over again in the same tried-and-true way you always do. I mean, even a failure has a positive outcome: at least that way, you face the next plate of the old-tried-and-true with new appreciation. (Just ask Carolyn about the worst thing I ever made and served her: Carrots Braised with Wine–from a Jamie Oliver recipe. She never thought something would make her dream of a plainly steamed carrot, but this was enough to do it!)

So last night, to go along with a few main-dishes leftovers, I sat contemplating my cauliflower, wondering just what I could do with it to give it a “zing!” And so I decided to look in my fridge, to the ‘condiment and component’ shelf, and try something new…..I was thinking something along the lines of Dijon mustard and a crumb topping…..but when I opened the door I spied my lovely little jar of imported anchovies…I thought, “Why not? What do I have to lose? Just a lonely little head of cauliflower.” And what came together turned out to be something so incredibly tasty, Carolyn, who has become *quite* bored with the white florets over the past few months, actually asked for a second heaping helping. So this is now in the keeper pile!

Sauteed Cauliflower with Anchovies and Garlic

1 Head Cauliflower, broken into florets, rinsed
4 Anchovy filets, chopped fine
5 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and sliced on the thick side
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Start by heating up your pan–use a large skillet with a lid, one that will hold the cauliflower in a single layer.

With the heat on the “Hi” side of Med-Hi heat: Add the oil, heat a moment, and then add in the chopped anchovies–being sure to mix immediately with a large spoon, so that the anchovies melt into the oil rather than sticking to the pan. Next add the garlic slices and stir to coat with the oil. Let it cook for a moment for the oil to get infused with the garlic flavor.

Immediately dump in your cauliflower and enough water to just barely cover the bottom of the pan (I prob used about 1/4-1/3 cup). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, give a quick stir or shake to coat the cauliflower, then put the lid on and let steam until almost tender (this will depend on the size of your florets). Finish cooking with the lid off, allowing the extra moisture to evaporate, and the cauliflower to get brown in places. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.

Not only tasty, but a quick vegetable side-dish, to boot. Enjoy!

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Filed Under: Diet-Friendly, Savory, Sides, Vegetarian-Friendly

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