What’s For Dinner?
Roasted Cauliflower With Pine Nuts and Raisins
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
2003 Golden Whisk Awards
A component of a vegetable plate at One Midtown Kitchen inspired dining critic John Kessler to try to re-create a version of it for his World Eats column. Typical of Sicilian cooking, this savory-sweet combo (below) originally featured currants, but when he couldn't locate them at his supermarket, he used golden raisins instead. Though not the most attractive dish we've ever seen, what this rustic brown dish lacks in color it more than makes up for in flavor.
Hands on time: 5 minutes Total time: 30 minutes Serves: 6
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 head cauliflower
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 to 3 whole thyme sprigs
1/4 cup Japanese bread crumbs
2 teaspoons butter
Place cauliflower florets, smashed garlic cloves and pine nuts in a heatproof baking dish, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and toss well with a spoon to coat. Spread in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and place thyme sprigs on top. Bake for 10 minutes; turn the florets with a spatula. If mixture seems very dry, add a splash more oil and toss. Bake 10 minutes more. Turn again with spatula and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, watching closely. The cauliflower should have caramelized edges, and the nuts should be well-browned. Drain raisins and toss with the cauliflower.
Turn oven to broil. Remove thyme sprigs and garlic cloves. Push mixture together so that cauliflower florets are still in a single layer but touching closely. Carefully distribute the crumbs over the top and dot with butter. Broil 6 inches from the element just until crumbs brown, about 2 minutes. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, but don't refrigerate.