best cauliflower ever

Peter Zambri's Cauliflower Alla Sabbia

It is extremely rare that I prepare a recipe to the letter. Usually it serves more as an inspiration, a starting point. But two days ago I made an exception. This recipe is simply perfect as is. The only modifications I made were to (1)- double the cauliflower quantity and (2)- omit the jalapeno, and only because I didn’t have any on hand. Two heads of cauliflower had been sitting in my fridge, patiently waiting to live up to their potential….and, oh Lordy, did they ever. So much so that I made this dish again the very next day.

I had stumbled upon this recipe while googling Zambri's Restaurant, having just read about it in the November/December issue of Eat Magazine. Located in Victoria, Zambri's website describes their cuisine as “….authentic, full flavoured Italian food…..No tricks, fresh local ingredients and undeniable flavours.” Chef and co-owner Peter Zambri was the subject of a National Post article this past April, where he described the following Cauliflower Alla Sabbia as one of his signature dishes. Delizioso!

Cauliflower Alla Sabbia
(Cauliflower tossed with anchovies, chilies and breadcrumbs)

1/2 large cauliflower, cut into florets
4 small garlic cloves, thickly sliced
2 heaping tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp. crushed dried red chilies (optional)
4 whole anchovy filets
4 slices of jalapeno with seeds (optional)
1/3 cup fine breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1/8 cup chopped parsley, leaves only.
1/4 c finely grated parmesan

Blanch cauliflower in boiling salted water for two minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a cloth or paper towel lined baking sheet to cool. (Alternatively, transfer to a bowl of ice water but Zambri advises that you don’t want them to be too water logged, or the breadcrumb-anchovy mixture won’t stick to the vegetable). Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan. Add garlic, chilies, anchovies, jalapeno and fry on medium heat until the anchovies melt and butter & garlic turns a nut brown. Add the cauliflower and breadcrumbs to the pan tossing together to coat, making sure to heat through. Lightly season with salt and pepper at this stage. Add parsley and parmesan and toss again, coating thoroughly. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates. Should any ingredients stick to the bottom of the pan, simply scrape with a wooden spoon and crumble over the cauliflower. Serves 4.


james said...

Exceptions! Thanks for the recipe!

vegetablej said...

This looks good. Cauliflower can be just delicious and it's good to use in a recipe because there are usually leftovers otherwise that nobody uses, with the demise of the casserole.

If you have Madhur Jaffreys first cookbook "Indian Cookery", there is the most scrumptuous recipe for cauliflower with onions and tomato in it. It's so good that it's hard to stop eating it. Yum, cauliflower, but sadly out of season.