I got the idea to make this cauliflower because I feel like the flavor combination of anchovies, evoo, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and parsley go together really nicely. We have made all sorts of dishes (mostly pastas, but other things too) with that combination of flavors. We did a Roast Broccolini with Parsley, Garlic and Anchovies awhile back that was delicious. We also made a really nice Seared Radish Crostini awhile back that I really enjoyed. So I decided why not use that flavor combination with another vegetable that I love? So we made a flavorful paste of anchovies, garlic, onion, crushed red pepper flakes and evoo and then roasted our cauliflower in the oven. This roasted cauliflower is the type of dish that I used to make a ton before Alex moved in. It was pretty common for me to just roast up half of a cauliflower or a bunch of brussels sprouts with whatever seasonings, meats and aromatics that I had in the fridge and eat that for dinner. Sometimes I would add pasta, sometimes I would just eat a big old bowl full of roasted veggies. But then Alex moved up and those random roast vegetable meals just sort of disappeared. In case you were wondering, my other default meal was scrambled eggs, which I continue to make fairly regularly on the weekend for brunch/lunch and for myself when Alex is either out of town or has other dinner plans. So I would totally make this cauliflower dish again for dinner sometimes. I might substitute bacon (or capers if you wanted to go the vegetarian route) for the anchovies or play with the proportions a little, but this is totally my kind of dish. Alex was less enthusiastic about it. He said that he didn't taste the anchovies, garlic and onion as much as he wanted. I agree with him to a certain extent. The dominant flavors were definitely crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice and parsley (although my portion was more heavily parsley-ed than his because I love parsley), but I thought the salty/nutty flavor of the anchovies came through nonetheless.
Recipe after the jump!
Simple Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Onion and Anchovies
3 tbsp red onion, minced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 anchovy fillets
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes (we used 1/2 tsp, but I would cut it back a bit if you want to taste the other flavors more)
2-3 tbsp evoo
1 head cauliflower, core removed, cut into florets
2-3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place onion, garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle. Grind the mixture until it forms a slightly chunky paste.
Add evoo to a large mixing bowl. Add the paste and cauliflower. Season lightly with s&p (I say lightly because the anchovies are already pretty salty and there is already salt in the anchovy paste). Toss until cauliflower is well-coated. Transfer cauliflower to a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once halfway through, until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with lemon wedges.