Cauliflower Gratin, Sicilian Style
Sicilian cuisine is full of flavour but at the same time very simple as its roots are in peasant and fisherman traditions - using humble, strictly seasonal ingredients.
Cauliflower - with its light, meaty texture - lends itself perfectly in this dish as it soaks up all the flavours from the other ingredients. The florets are cooked in a spicy, sweet and sour tomato sauce along with olives, capers and garlic. They are then briefly baked “au gratin” to form a deliciously crunchy crust on the top…heaven!!
Ingredients (for 2)
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tbsp + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, bashed, peeled and chopped
2 tins (800g) San Marzano tomatoes, both pulp and juice
6 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 large pinch chilli flakes (adjust to your taste)
A handful of pitted green Belice olives
1 tbsp capers
A small bunch fresh chopped parsley to garnish
Salt to taste
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp grated caciocavallo (or other) cheese
Cubed provolone or mozzarella cheese
Add the olive oil to a heavy-bottomed pan or casserole, and place over a medium-high heat. Once it starts to sizzle, add the cauliflower florets, the garlic and season with salt. Cook with a lid on, occasionally turning the florets so they sear on all sides.
After about 5 minutes, add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, capers, olives and chilli flakes. The tomatoes can be quite watery so leave to cook with on medium heat with the lid off for around 12-15 minutes, or until the sauce has darkened, thickened and the florets are tender but still a little crunchy – this might vary depending on the size of the florets.
Transfer to a baking casserole and top with the chopped fresh parsley, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, and cubed provolone / mozzarella and bake on grill mode at the highest temperature for 5 minutes or less, until a crispy layer has formed on top.
Word of the Day
(parsley, pronounced prez·zé·mo·lo)