Sicilian roasted cauliflower with raisins and whole wheat chili-anchovy crumb
This simple and rustic Sicilian roasted cauliflower recipe makes an excellent side dish to serve with grilled or roasted chicken or fish. It proves that cauliflower need not be mushy and bland, or smothered in cheese sauce to be tasty.
When cauliflower is roasted the florets brown on the outside and develop a wonderful nutty flavor. The chili-anchovy crumb adds texture and a lovely salty-spiciness to the dish. The raisins provide a sweet contrast, and the parsley adds a flourish of color and flavor.
Savory breadcrumb mixtures are popular in Sicilian cooking, commonly to use up stale bread. They can be sprinkled over pasta dishes and risottos (often referred to as ‘poor man’s Parmesan’), scattered on top of cooked spinach, broccoli and green beans, or tossed with salads to add taste and texture. You can also use the breadcrumb mixture, uncooked, to coat foods like fish or chicken, before frying or baking until brown and crispy. We’ve also mixed the uncooked crumbs with chopped fresh tomato and parsley, spooned the mixture onto mussels in the half shell, and placed them under a hot broiler (griller) for a few minutes until sizzling and golden.
We like to make our own breadcrumbs using whole wheat bread for extra flavor and nutrients, however you can use any bread you like, crusts and all. You can also add other flavorings to the crumbs like lemon zest, and herbs such as parsley or rosemary, if you wish. And you can replace the cauliflower with broccoli florets, or a combination of both works well.
This dish can be served warm, or it makes a delicious salad served at room temperature. We’ve also tossed leftovers with pasta and sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese for a main meal.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 slices whole wheat bread — roughly torn into pieces
6 anchovies — chopped
1 clove garlic — chopped
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes