Cut the crap-o! Eat cauliflower!
Cauliflower with anchovies …
When I was about ten years old, my parents went on a vacation to Florida. I stayed with my Grandma who lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on 85th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. To be precise, St. Bernadette’s Parish with Monsignor Barilla as head honcho.
Okay, so that’s the very first time I ever remember seeing a huge white tight curly head of cauliflower. It was perched on my Grandma’s pristine white porcelain sink. Water sparkled on it like dew, tiny twinkling stars or what later in my life would be my favorite stones—diamonds.
Of course, curious little minx that I was, I asked my Nonna what that was—cavolfiore—and that night she made it for dinner tossed in fried garlic and seasonings and my favorite pasta, linguini! It just happened to be my grandmother’s favorite as well.
So the point here is that “peasant food,” as she called it, can be a sumptuous feast and feed many cheaply—well it used to be cheap, and it’s still less than steak. Since then, I have “toyed” around with cauliflower and prepared it many ways. So cut out the simpering whimpering and “I don’t like it, even if it’s good for me,” and try it like this …
Assemble these and then pretty much I’ll leave you to your own cooking devices.
1. Two very white and tight, clean heads of cauliflower—why two? Because that equals one the size my grandmother made all those many eons ago and works well for a pound of pasta, especially if you like to pile on the veggie, which I do. I hate to skimp on anything. This be must leftover from my mother, generous to a fault, who we used to tease and call, “Child of the Dpression.”
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3. Many cloves of garlic.
4. Hot pepperoncino (one or two!)
6. Diced red skinned roasted peppers (I use fresh homemade, but you can cheat, if needs be and by it in a jar.)
7. A few capers
8. A tin of anchovies
9. Sliced or whole pitted black olives ( I used both)
10. 3 to 5 tablespoons of fresh tomato sauce (yes, here again, you cheaters, may use some other glop and hope for the best…)
11. Fresh basil leaves, preferably from your garden or window sill plants
12. chopped cilantro or parsley
Okay, for you non-adventurous ones:
Boil the cauliflower whole in salted water (I used sea salt or Kosher salt) until a long fork can piece the heart with ease. Retain water and add more to cook the linguini! Place the big pot of water on the stove and start to heat it, so that your pasta will be done when your sauce is.
In a huge fry pan—put an abundant amount of olive oil, lots of garlic and hot pepper—heat and when the garlic is golden, toss in the anchovies and cover quickly or got to the hospital with third degree burns from the skittering olive oil. Turn off the gas or remove from electric plate.
When this mix has stopped sputtering and doing its dance, raise the flame to high and fling in at least half a glass of whatever great wine you’re drinking to prepare this dish! Mine happened to be Cavit Pinot Grigio—a nice little inexpensive summer wine—never in my house will you find Santa Margherita, which is over-priced, and that vineyard cannot possibly produce enough grape to sell as many bottles of the stuff that it does … sorry, folks, if I’ve disillusioned you. Give it as a gift. You can substitute the wine I used for a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, or even a robust red.
When the alcohol burns off, lower the heat and add all of the other ingredients and taste for salt—I never taste this—but I’ve been cooking since—anyway, adjust salt—remember, anchovies and olives and capers are salty …HINT, hint—you won’t need much, and you are going to add the cauliflower, which was cooked in slated water. Cook the sauce for a few minutes and then add the cauliflower—give it a whirl with your wooden spoon, and let simmer or turn off while you drain the pasta—tight—if you have a liquidy sauce, or loose, conversing some of the pasta water, in case you need to add some.
Serve piping hot garnished with chopped cilantro or parsley. Mangia bene! e Dio benedica tutte le nonne! Eat well, and God bless all grandmothers.
Oh for ya’ll foodies who happen to be health conscious as well–
Food: Cauliflower, rawFood Group: Vegetables and Vegetable Products1VitaminsVitamin A(IU)13Vitamin A (microg retinol activity equivalents)1Vitamin B6 (mg)0.222Vitamin B12 (microg)0Folic Acid (microg)0Niacin (mg)0.526Riboflavin (mg)0.063Thiamin (mg)0.057 Vitamin C (mg)46.4 Vitamin E (mg)0.08 Vitamin K (mg)16 MineralsCalcium (mg)22Copper (mg)0.042 Iron (mg)0.44 Manganese (mg)0.156Magnesium (mg)15Phosphorus (mg)44Potassium (mg)303 Selenium (microg)0.6 Sodium (mg)30Zinc (mg)0.28 OtherProtein (g)1.98 Fibre (g)2.5Water (g)91.91 Carbohydrate (g)5.3 Energy (Kcal)25Lipids (fats) (g)0.1 Cholesterol (mg)0
No, ficiton writers, I did not invent this.
P. S. Please overlook any grammatical or syntactical errors, as I’m rushing to prepare, guess what?