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.
- 1 head of cauliflower (about 2½ pounds)
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup Parmesan, shredded
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- Juice from 1 lemon
- PREP: Place oven rack in lowest position in the oven; preheat to 450°.
- Clean off the green outer leaves of the cauliflower, then slice cauliflower into pieces.
- Transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to make sure pieces are evenly coated.
- Roast cauliflower on bottom rack until pieces are browned around the edges and undersides are deeply browned all over, about 25–30 minutes.
- Toss the capers in a small bowl with remaining olive oil and lemon juice.
- When cauliflower is ready on the first side, remove baking sheet from oven. Using a spatula, turn pieces over so browned sides are facing up.
- Sprinkle Parmesan on top and return to the oven to roast until browned about another 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from the oven and let cool a few minutes. Transfer cauliflower to a plate and drizzle lemon-caper dressing.
- Optional: Season with more salt and pepper and more Parmesan.