I bookmarked this Michael Anthony (of Gramercy Tavern) cauliflower recipe on Smitten Kitchen, attracted by how interesting it is. Of course, everything on Smitten Kitchen looks delicious, but this was a recipe Michael Anthony created to convince his wife (when they first met) to like cauliflower. See, Lon does not like cauliflower, though I’ve tried a few times, and this just seemed different enough, perhaps…I finally did bring him over to the fungus side (he did not eat mushrooms for most of his life) so I was feeling pretty confident.

Cauliflower with Almonds, Cranberries, and Capers 3

With holidays in the air, and side dishes on the mind, I decided to swap the raisins for dried cranberries. The spots of red make it more festive, but honestly, I probably would have done the swap even if it wasn’t for the holidays. I just like dried cranberries more than raisins so I often do this substitution. The result ended up being a back-drop of white, with a sprinkling of red and green, perfect for Christmas.

I would still use this for Thanksgiving though because my favorite part about this recipe, is that it tastes great after being left in room temperature. I don’t know how your family eats for Thanksgiving, but my cousins on my mothers side are monsters! We eat until none of us can breathe and then line up on the living room floor for a nap. About an hour later, we all get up and start eating again. At this point, everything is room temperature, so this dish is perfect!

The only problem I found with this recipe is that it calls for 1 head of cauliflower and cauliflower can vary in size pretty drastically. While the exact amount is not important, I would go with something 2 pounds (after leaves are removed) or smaller. I used a 2 1/2 pound cauliflower and ended up wishing I had a little more of the topping. That resolved, I love this recipe for it’s crumbliness and mix of textures, crunchy, crispy, and squishy, and then the confetti of salty, sweet, tangy, and fresh. I was surprised that the cauliflower part is not seasoned but the topping gives the full flavor which is why you have to make sure to have enough topping. In different bites, this dish may taste like a different dish, but it’s all unique with a light feel, perhaps a sunny winter day.

close up on Cauliflower, Almonds, Craisins, and capers

Cauliflower with Almonds, Cranberries, and Capers
~adapted from Michael Anthony
~4 side servings

  • 1 head cauliflower (2 pound or smaller)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh soft bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons whole almonds
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon finely sliced chives

Instructions –

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice cauliflower into 1″ thick slices. Set aside.

sliced cauliflower

2. Heat  1 tablespoon butter in a large oven-proof skillet over low heat. When it has melted, add bread crumbs and toss until golden. Remove into a small bowl and set aside.

fresh bread crumbs toasted bread crumbs

3. Wipe the pan and add one teaspoon olive oil and turn heat up to medium. Add almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove almonds to a cutting board and cool. Once they are cool, cut into thirds. (This is not as hard as it sounds with a sharp knife. It’s not that many almonds.) Set aside.

almonds cut almonds

4. Wipe out pan and return to medium heat with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add cauliflower slices and lightly brown both sides. Put the pan in the oven and roast until tender, about 12 minutes. (You may need to brown in two batches if your pan is not large enough but a 12″ skillet can handle it.) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter with cranberries and 1 tablespoon of water. Simmer until the cranberries plump and soften, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

5. In a small bowl, combine almonds, cranberries, capers, and herbs. Season with salt and pepper generously and toss to mix.

Almond, Cranberry, Capers, herbs

6. When cauliflower is done, arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the almond/cranberry mixture on top and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Serve.

Cauliflower with Almonds, Cranberries, and Capers 2

I know you’re all waiting to hear what Lon thinks…I’ll post as soon as he tries it. Lon wouldn’t even try it. Not one bite. =(

posted by jessica at 04:37 PM Filed under American, Holidays, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.