07 December 2012

Sweet and Sour Cauliflower

I love fish and pasta, but those two mild flavors require something a little peppier on the plate.  I came up with this when I had cauliflower on hand and wanted to roast it, but didn't want to add yet more bland, polite flavor to the dinner table.  Really, you could use any roasted vegetables for this, but I think the tang from the vinegar works best with earthy, charred veggies.  You can serve this as a side or toss it with wheat berries or quinoa for a hearty lunch to go. Serve hot or room temperature.

Sicilian Sweet-and-Sour Roasted Cauliflower

Serves 4 as a side 

1 large head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch discs
1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 small jalapeno, sliced into rings
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ yellow onion, sliced thinly
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar
Crushed red pepper to taste

Toss cauliflower, carrot, red pepper, and jalapeno with a little olive oil and salt, spread onto a baking sheet, and roast in the oven at 425°F for 20 minutes or until vegetables are softened and browned.  (Stir once or twice during baking.)

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat and cook onion until it becomes very soft and fragrant, about 7 minutes.  Lower heat to medium-low and stir in raisins, sugar, and vinegar.  Simmer 2-3 minutes and check for desired level of sweetness.  Turn off heat and cover until vegetables are roasted.

Toss vegetables with pine nuts and vinegar sauce in a large serving bowl.  Season with crushed red pepper.