Cauliflower is the “little black dress” of the Southern Italian table; it can be dressed up or down and is compatible with an array of ingredients. For eye-popping color, add strips of roasted and peeled red pepper.
- 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use, plus more for serving
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground
- black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh at-leaf parsley
- 16 pitted green olives, such as Cerignola, chopped
- 3 tablespoons brined capers, drained
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the cauliower into quarters, then slice each quarter into 6 or 8 pieces. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Tip the cauliower onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer, ensuring the at sides of the florets make contact with the pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn with a spatula and roast for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the cauliower is lightly browned (caramelized) and tender. Let cool.
Return the cauliower to the mixing bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil as well as the parsley, olives, capers, lemon juice, and red pepper akes. Toss gently. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, and red pepper akes, if needed. Transfer to an attractive platter or serving bowl. Serve at room temperature with additional olive oil on the side.
Serves 6 — Recipe adapted from The Food of Southern Italy by Carlo Middione (William Morrow, 1987)