I’m on a cauliflower kick with the winter garden producing nice heads, so here’s a warm salad/side dish that is soooo yummy. And the capers, well, even if you think you don’t like them, give them a try in this recipe. You may find that they add a nice tang and interesting flavor to the cauliflower.
When I was making this dish, hubby asked, “What are capers anyway?” I answered what I thought it was… an herb of some kind. From the research, they are better known as berries. We had seen them growing out of rocks and mountainsides in Italy when we visited and to me, the plant looked like a weed with a berry on the end. They grow all over the Mediterranean and need to be pickled, salted, or brined to be palatable.
Wikipedia says, “Capparis spinosa, the caper bush, also called Flinders rose, is a perennial plant that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and large white to pinkish-white flowers. The plant is best known for the edible flower buds, often used as a seasoning, and the fruit, both of which are usually consumed pickled.”
Food Network describes them best, “Capers are the pickled flower buds of a thorny, trailing shrub that grows like a weed all over the Mediterranean. It’s a stubborn, ornery plant, difficult to cultivate, with a preference for dry, stony places. You’ll find it growing from rocky cracks and crevices and climbing stone walls.” Yep, that’s how I would describe what I saw when we happened upon them growing in Italy.
Cauliflower roasting away after drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Once roasted on both sides and sprinkled with parmesan, dress with lemon caper sauce.
This is great as a stand-alone vegetarian meal, or as a side dish to meat, chicken or fish entree.
A tip about capers: They will keep indefinitely if they remain submerged in their own brine. Leave the brine behind when spooning capers from their jar so they stay submerged. If they’re not submerged don’t top off the jar with vinegar — it’ll make them spoil faster. (resource: FoodNetwork)