Yes, yes I know, two posts about cauliflower in a week is too much for anyone. But it’s staring at me from the fridge, it needs eating and, having thrown a rather ridiculously large piece of watermelon away I’m loath to chuck anything else. And what’s more I’m learning to love this usually uninspiring brassica. If you treat it like broccoli, which lends itself to all sorts of flavours such as chilli, garlic and anchovy, rather than as just a backdrop for melted cheese then it is radically transformed. Broccoli is gorgeous served with the Italian sauce bagna cauda so why not try its white sibling with the same thing? Reader, it worked; in fact I think it was just as good as the broccoli version. Pale but interesting…
Bagna cauda, unlike cauliflower, is full of colour and as easy and fast to make as all’aglio. The only difference is that instead of using chilli you use anchovy fillets. In the end I decided to use both because I love the taste of the chilli spiking its way through the oil. I was feeling hungry so I served this with the leftover gnocchi (that’s 2-0 to me on the fridge-emptying tonight!).
For two you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons
garlic, 1 clove
sea salt and black pepper
pasta or gnocchi, 300g (150g per person)
small bird’s eye chilli, fresh or dried, ½
small cauliflower (oh, all right, or broccoli), about 300g
jar or tin of anchovy fillets, 3 (so you’ll have a good few left)
1. Peel and finely chop the garlic then chop the half-chilli and the anchovy fillets into small pieces.
2. Break the cauliflower into small florets and steam over boiling water for about three minutes. As soon as the time is up, lift out the steamer (so that you can keep the water for the pasta/gnocchi), tip the veg into a colander to drain and rinse it in cold water.
3. Put the steaming water back over the heat, add the pasta/gnocchi and cook as per the instructions.
4. Two-three minutes before the pasta/gnocchi is due to be ready (so if you are cooking gnocchi you will start cooking it and the sauce at the same time) put the olive oil into another saucepan over a low heat and, once warm, add the garlic and chilli.
5. Let the garlic and chilli soften but not colour (this will take about a minute depending on the temperature) then, off the heat, stir in the chopped anchovies. Keep stirring until they almost completely dissolve into the oil then tip in the cauliflower and toss to mix well.
6. If the pasta or gnocchi is now ready, drain it and leave to one side whilst you return the sauce and cauliflower to the heat and stir to warm it all through together for about a minute .
7. Put the pasta/gnocchi into serving bowls, tip the cauliflower and bagna cauda over the top and serve.