Inspiration for cooking, where do you get it? Books, TV, the store, a friend or family making something, the seasons, it comes from many places…ahhh..from Facebook or Instagram? Twitter? Certainly we are bombarded with images today and sometimes they give us our ideas for cooking. On Friday while shopping for pecorino at a local Salumeria I noticed their Catering menu and saw the words “CAULIFLOWER SCAMPI” on the list. HMMM, I said, i guess you take out the shrimp and add cut Cauliflower and cook it in the style of Italian-American Shrimp Scampi. Cauliflower is a wonderful cooked vegetable AND very Italian/Sicilian I may add, although we take no ownership of it, it’s loved in cuisines around the world but most people don’t associate it with Italian cuisine. Anyway the idea intrigued me and having a head of cauliflower at home meant that I would have to experiment with this idea over the weekend. I played around with a simple, basic “Scampi” style preparation and was very happy with the results. Took the pictures using the wonderful light that was bouncing off the fresh falling snow and beaming through our windows. Perfect for some indoor amateur food photography. I posted on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and suddenly I was in demand, well, not me…but people were asking for a recipe…YIKES!!! Know this about me, A FOOD OBSESSION, I don’t have a recipe when I cook, i have an idea in my head of what I need to do to get a dish to the table, what type of cuisine, flavors, etc. So when asked on the spot for a recipe this is something I can’t give back, i need to backtrack my steps and tweak it to make sure YOU will be able to make it like I did in your kitchen. So….here goes…
SERVES: 6 TIME: around 45 minutes
2 heads of Cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (the thicker they are, the longer they will take to cook, keep it to 1/2 inch)
2 1/2 TBS OLIVE OIL
2 CLOVES GARLIC, SLICED
1/8 CUP DRY VERMOUTH OR WHITE WINE
JUICE OF 1/2 LEMON
KOSHER SALT, CRACKED BLACK PEPPER
3 TBS CHOPPED FRESH ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
In a large skillet heat the olive oil, then in a single layer add the cauliflower, you may need 2 pans or to do it in batches. Let them cook for at least 12 minutes on medium, checking the bottoms to make sure they are only browning, and not burning. Sprinkle with salt and turn. Let them cook an addition 10 minutes. Test one, it should be nicely colored and al dente or medium tender. Now add the garlic, raise the flame a bit and gently shake the pan. Let the garlic cook for about 2 minutes then add the Vermouth or White Wine…hear that sizzle?? how’s that aroma that’s coming off the pan?? HOLLA! you’re loving this!!, now let this cook for 8 minutes on simmer as the cauliflower absorbs all those flavors. Remove from the heat and add the parsley and the fresh lemon, salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Done.
If you want to increase that lemony flavor, 1/2 tsp of Lemon zest added at the end will do that for you. Cheese? Parmigiano or Pecorino, a little..i personally prefer this with no cheese (can you imagine that I just said that? I just think in this dish no cheese is better but , that’s up to you).
This dish is Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly.