Whole Baked Romanesco Cauliflower with Tomato and Olive Sauce

Serves 4

1 red onion, peeled and sliced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

1 large head of cauliflower, outer green leaves discarded, stalk chopped
olive oil
a handful of black olives, stoned
4 good-quality salted anchovy fillets in oil, drained and sliced
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped, stalks finely chopped
2 x 400g tins good-quality chopped plum tomatoes
red wine vinegar

Find a pan that will fit your whole head of cauliflower in, leaving an inch around the outside of it – this is important, otherwise it won’t cook in the way it’s supposed to.  Add the onion, garlic, chopped cauliflower stalk and a glug of oil to the pan and slowly fry for 10 minutes until softened and with a little colour. Add the olives, anchovies and parsley stalks and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, then half-fill one of the tins with water and add that to the pan, with a good swig of red wine vinegar. Stir everything together, breaking the tomatoes down with a spoon to make sure there are no big lumps, and bring to the boil.

Take the cauliflower and gently push it down into the sauce. If you’ve got the size of your pan right, half of the cauliflower will be in the sauce, half above it. Drizzle with olive oil, put the lid on and let it simmer on a low heat for 50 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the parsley leaves.  Lovely with roast lamb, and it’s also a delicious main course for a vegetarian if you leave out the anchovies.


The Culinary Chase's Note:  This was a lovely way to present an otherwise boring vegetable!  The flavors here mingled beautifully and I love how the anchovies (a Roman staple) melted away to give it that extra bit of salt while the red wine vinegar kicked it up a notch.  Next time I make this I'll add a pinch of chili flakes.  Delish!

Heather Chase,
Dec 16, 2009, 2:00 PM