It’s always nice to find a new way to cook something I like to eat – like cauliflower. I roast it all the time and make it into soup too. This recipe is completely different from those ways. This time, it’s steamed on top of the stove in a tomato and onion sauce with garlic and olives.
Although I didn’t have all the ingredients to follow the recipe exactly, I did use the anchovies that are called for. I’ve found that what so many cooks claim—that you don’t actually taste the anchovies, but that they add an under note which is welcome—is true. So I have some in a tube, clearly marked so I don’t confuse it with anything else in the fridge, in case it shows up in an ingredient list.
Here’s what happens.
Get a head of cauliflower. Use it to find the correct sized pot.
Halve, then slice a red onion.
Peel and slice the garlic.
Take the pits out of the olives.
Cook the red onions and garlic until softened slightly.
Add the olives and anchovy paste.
Then the passata, water and red wine vinegar are added.
And then the cauliflower goes into the pot, is drizzled with olive oil and left to cook.
Here’s the finished dish.
I served this over pasta which had been tossed in garlic butter. The sauce itself was a little on the salty side, but the pasta cut the saltiness and it tasted great.
The recipe is from Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook by Jamie Oliver and you can find it here:
Whole Baked Cauliflower with Tomato and Olive Sauce
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large head cauliflower, outer green leaves discarded, stalk chopped
1 handful black olives, stoned
1 tsp. anchovy paste
1-3/4 cups passata
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
First of all, find yourself a pan in which your whole head of cauliflower will fit, leaving an inch around the outside of it – this is important, otherwise it won’t cook in the way it’s supposed to. I use my regular porridge-for-four-people pan and it works a treat! Add the onion, garlic and a lug of oil to the pan and slowly fry for 10 minutes until softened and with a little colour. Add the olives and anchovies and fry for another couple of minutes. Add the passata and water to the pan, with the balsamic vinegar. Stir everything together and bring to the boil.
Take your cauliflower and gently push it down into the sauce. If you’ve got the size of your pan right, half of the cauliflower will be in the sauce, half above it. Drizzle with olive oil, put the lid on and let it tick over on a low heat for 50 minutes. This is a pretty well-behaved dish when it comes to cooking it in advance and then reheating it just before you want to serve it. Lovely with roast lamb, and it’s also a delicious main course for a vegetarian if you leave out the anchovies.