The all-time most delicious cauliflower: it browns on the stove, then roasts slowly—tender and sweet, with a little kick. See the original recipe here; I’ve modified it slightly. And I do the proportions Jamie-Oliver style.
One medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets
Two medium tomatoes, diced
Small handful of currants or raisins
Small handful of pine nuts
Two or three cloves of garlic, minced
Small spoon of sugar
Extra virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper
Salt + freshly ground black pepper
Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Juice of half a lemon, or more
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, cover the currants in warm water, to soften.
2. In a large flameware casserole (or shallow dutch oven; good if it has a cover), heat the oil. Add the cauliflower and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower begins to soften—ten or fifteen minutes. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the cauliflower is lightly browned—five minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, a couple generous pinches of crushed red pepper, and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook another five minutes, or until the tomatoes have started to soften.
3. Drain the water from the currants. Add them to the pan, along with the pine nuts and garlic. There should still be some liquid in the pan from the tomatoes, but if not, add a splash of hot water. Partially cover and transfer the dish to the oven. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until the cauliflower is very tender.
4. Remove from the oven and stir in the parsley and lemon juice. You can keep it warm with the cover on for a while, while you finish cooking the rest of your meal. If you plan to do this, make sure you don’t overcook it in the oven, as it’ll keep cooking in the warm casserole. Or just let it stand, uncovered, for ten or fifteen minutes and then serve.
I made this in Maine, using straight-from-the-garden cauliflower, for Philip, my mother and my stepfather, John, who declared it “the best goddamn cauliflower I’ve ever eaten.” Here’s the rest of our delicious meal:
Salmon and Potatoes with Lemon and Dill
For the fish: slather a salmon fillet with lemon-dill mayo (about half a cup of mayo, juice of ¾ of a lemon, handful of chopped fresh dill); grill skin-side down for 10–12 minutes with the lid on. You want it to be slightly rare in the middle when you take it off. Cover with foil and let stand five or ten minutes.
For the potatoes: place them in a pot of cold, salted water (use new potatoes or small red potatoes cut into roughly 1-inch pieces). Bring to a boil and cook until very tender. Meanwhile, make your lemon/olive-oil/dill dressing (about one part fresh lemon juice to two parts olive oil, plus a handful of chopped fresh dill). Drain potatoes in a colander, let them steam a minute, then toss them in a bowl with the dressing.
Mom’s Sautéed Greens
Large bunch fresh spinach
Large bunch fresh beet greens (or any other leafy greens you like, eg. kale, chard or mustard greens)
One medium onion, chopped
Two cloves garlic, chopped
Glug of olive oil
A little water
Splash of white balsamic vinegar
1. Pull stems off of greens and chop the stems. Roll the leaves together in bunches; chop coarsely. (If using baby spinach—basically stemless—then of course you don’t need to bother de-stemming that.)
2. In a large skillet on low heat, sauté onion in olive oil until a little soft. Add garlic, cook another few minutes. (Let the garlic brown only slightly.) Add chopped stems, cook until they start to soften.
(Here you can turn off the heat and wait until the rest of dinner is almost ready.)
3. On medium heat, add the greens and stir. Cook five minutes or a little more. If they’re not completely tender, add a quarter cup of water, stir and cover for two or three minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl. Add a splash of white balsamic vinegar, plus salt and pepper to taste.