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Five New Sicily-Inspired Ways to Cook Cauliflower

By Tara Parker-Pope


At my house we eat cauliflower like popcorn. Using a simple recipe from Alice Waters, we slice it thin, toss in olive oil and salt, and roast. One head of cauliflower is never enough.

This week in Recipes for Health, Martha Rose Shulman takes us on a trip to Sicily, where cauliflower is a favorite food. She writes: “Every once in a while I revisit the cuisine of a particular part of the world (usually it is located somewhere in the Mediterranean). This week I landed in Sicily. I was nosing around my cookbooks for some cauliflower recipes and opened my friend and colleague Clifford A. Wright’s very first cookbook, “Cucina Pariso: The Heavenly Food of Sicily.” The cuisine of this island is unique, with many Arab influences – lots of sweet spices, sweet and savory combinations, saffron, almonds and other nuts. Sicilians even have a signature couscous dish, a fish couscous they call Cuscusù.”

Cauliflower is a favorite vegetable there, though the variety used most often is the light green cauliflower that we can find in some farmers’ markets in the United States. I adapted a couple of Wright’s pasta recipes, changing them mainly by reducing the amount of olive oil and anchovies enough to lighten the sodium and caloric values significantly without sacrificing the flavor and character of the dishes.

I didn’t just look to Sicily for recipes for this nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetable, but I didn’t stray very far. One recipe comes from Italy’s mainland, and another, a baked cauliflower frittata, is from its close neighbor, Tunisia, fewer than 100 miles away across the Strait of Sicily.

Here are five new ways to cook with cauliflower.

Sicilian Pasta With Cauliflower: Raisins or currants and saffron introduce a sweet element into the savory and salty mix.

Baked Ziti With Cauliflower: A delicious baked macaroni dish that has a lot more going for it nutritionally than mac and cheese.

Cauliflower and Tuna Salad: Tuna adds a new element to a classic Italian antipasto of cauliflower and capers dressed with vinegar and olive oil…

Read More:  Tara Parker-Pope,

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