Saturday, July 30, 2016

ChezCindy: Italian Cauliflower & Tomatoes

Italian Cauliflower & Tomatoes

For those who love Italian food, but are looking to eat less pasta or meat in their diet, this is the dish for you. This recipe uses fennel seed and fresh basil to bring forward the traditional Italian flavors, resulting in a delicious main course or side dish.  Because the cooking process is quick over high heat, the cauliflower losses the bitter, strong taste that people hope to avoid. Fresh grape tomatoes provide sweetness, with Parmesan cheese to complete the dish.  And it comes together within minutes of prep and cooking time.  Try serving as a side to grilled Italian sausages or seasoned chicken breasts; or simply serve as your next "Meatless Monday" meal. 

Italian Cauliflower & Tomatoes
1 head of cauliflower
1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 teaspoons of fennel seed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 sprig of fresh basil
kosher salt and course ground black pepper

Working with a head of cauliflower, remove the green leaves, stems and core.  Slice the head in half.  Then slice into planks, providing a flat surface area so that the cauliflower will have good contact with the pan.  Next, using a large non-stick saute pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, place over medium-high heat.  Allow the pan to get hot, swirling the oil to coat the bottom.  Add the planks of cauliflower in a single layer so that all of the pieces have contact with the pan, filling in with the little bits that have crumbled.  With a large head, you may need to do this in small batches, adding more oil as needed.  Do not stir or turn for several minutes.  Using tongs, peek at the cooked side of the cauliflower plank to see if it has browned like in the picture below.  As each plank has browned, turn over so that each piece has become beautifully browned.  This just takes a few minutes.  Remove the cauliflower from the pan; set aside.

Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the pan along with additional olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Add the fennel seeds, sauteing until the tomatoes have browned and given up their juices.  Add the cauliflower back into the pan, stirring to combine.  Turn off the heat; add the grated Parmesan cheese and basil over the top and serve.  

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