Sicilian Style Cauliflower


Currants and pignoli or pine nuts feature prominently in Sicilian cuisine.  The two ingredients are simultaneously used in many dishes.  Currants add just a touch of sweetness to any dish; and pine nuts add a little crunch.  In this dish the cauliflower is parboiled and sautéed with currants and pine nuts and topped with toasted breadcrumbs before serving.

(Cavolfiore alla Siciliana)

Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Make 6 servings.

For the Breadcrumb Topping:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
2 teaspoons minced Italian flat-leaf parsley

For the Cauliflower:
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon currants
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

MAKE THE BREADCRUMB TOPPING:  Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium-heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in breadcrumbs and cook, stirring constantly until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and continue stirring for another minute.  The breadcrumbs will continue to cook after they are removed from heat because the bottom of the pan is still hot.  Keep stirring them for a short time so that the breadcrumbs don’t burn.  Set aside.  When cool, stir in the cheese and parsley.

PARBOIL THE CAULIFLOWER:  Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Drain well.

SAUTE THE CAULIFLOWER:  Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes until lightly browned on both sides.  Discard the garlic.  Add cauliflower florets and cook about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.  Add currants and pine nuts the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Transfer to a serving platter and top with breadcrumb mixture just before serving.

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