Did you know you can grill cauliflower? Well I didn’t until I recently saw a recipe for grilled and charred cauliflower. I should have thought of it really. Well, if broccoli can be grilled, cauliflower is not far behind. In the summer we grill a lot of vegetables on the BBQ (in the winter we roast), those two are our preferred ways to cook most vegetables. They develop a much deeper and often sweeter flavor as a result of the slight charring and caramelization.
This dish has a puttanesca relish with the Sicilian twist of dried fruit. Sweet and sour combinations are a classic for Sicily. The recipe is adapted from one in the New York Times for Grilled Broccoli with Apricot Puttanesca. Adapted because I only had cauliflower on hand the first time and no dried apricots. And what is puttanesca without anchovies!!! Heretical. But leave them out if you don’t like them or want to make a vegetarian option.
You need to cut the cauliflower and/or broccoli into largish chunks so it doesn’t fall though the grill. Spread the relish over it while it is still warm. We served this with a simple grilled chicken, it would be equally delicious with fish.
Note: The second time I made this I combined the cooked drained raisins, capers, olives, chiles, oregano and anchovies in the bowl of a small food processor. Processed until roughly chopped. Proceed with step 4 below.
- 1/2 cup of yellow raisins
- 3/4 – 1 cup of unflavored rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of capers, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon of marinated Calabrian chiles in oil, minced (or pickled hot cherry peppers or a good pinch of red pepper flakes)
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon of minced anchovies (depending on your taste, and leave out if you are vegetarian)
- 1/2 cup of olive oil, more as needed
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts, briefly toasted in a dry skillet (optional)
- Juice of 1/2 large lemon
- 2 heads of cauliflower, cut into large pieces or an equivalent amount of broccoli or a combination
- Kosher salt as needed
- 1 small onion or shallot, thinly sliced (optional)
See the note above for an optional preparation method.
- Put the dried raisins in a small saucepan, add enough vinegar to cover. Slowly bring the mixture to a simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and strain the raisins, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Mix the raisins with the capers, olives, chilies, anchovies, and oregano. Set aside.
- If using, briefly toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet, pour them out onto a small plate to cool. Watch them carefully as they burn quickly.
- In a separate bowl, whisk 1/8 cup of the reserved raisin cooking liquid and lemon juice with 1/2 cup of olive oil to make a dressing.
- Heat your grill to high (or oven to 425 degrees F). Toss the cauliflower (and/or broccoli) with olive oil to coat and lightly season with salt.
- Place the cauliflower (and/or broccoli) directly on the grill and cook until the outsides begin to char. Flip and cook a few more minutes or until tender. Alternately roast on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the oven for 30-40 minutes until browned and cooked through.
- Remove from the grill and toss with the puttanesca and dressing until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the optional onion slices and pine nuts. Or, reserve and serve at room temperature later.
I think this recipe would be perfect for serving at your BBQ on the 4th of July. It can be made ahead and is delicious at room temperature.
I know this holiday will be quite strange for many of us. Here in Fort Bragg CA (there is much discussion about changing our name since General Bragg was a slave owning Confederate with a bad reputation) there will be no fireworks, no parade, no outdoor salmon feed, no craft show, and no beer or wine tasting tours of the town. It is indeed a very unsettling time to be an American.
We will celebrate with a BBQ for two out on the deck, toasting the holiday with an Aperol Spritz.
Click on the Fiesta Friday link above to see all the treats and crafts other bloggers are bringing to the virtual party.
Stay safe, be well. Let me know how you will be celebrating this holiday.