From Tuscany, Phaidon, 2011.
This sounds much better by its Italian name than that of Stewed Cauliflower.
Aiming to head for Tuscany later this year, it seemed a good idea to try some more vegetarian Italian cooking from that region. I turned to this rather handsome volume which is a mixture of recipes and information on the foodstuffs and farming of the different regions.
I was somewhat concerned about the time that the cauliflower was to be cooked in this recipe. Firstly, before anything else is done, it had to be boiled for half an hour. This was already some 20 minutes more than I would normally cook it.
The cauliflower was then cut into reasonably thin slices. It was so soft that it was falling apart a little, though it was manageable.
Garlic was then fried in a pan of olive oil until it had browned a little. This was taken out to leave a garlic-flavoured oil to which the cauliflower pieces were added and cooked on a low heat until slightly browned. Some tomato paste was dissolved in warm vegetable stock and added to the pan. Seasonings were added and the pan covered to simmer for an hour more.
I began to panic after half an hour. This seemed far too long to cook cauliflower. I knew it was called stewed cauliflower but I couldn’t bear to have it stew any longer.
It was a soft, mushy vegetable that was served on the plates and while I didn’t really appreciate its softness it was remarkably strongly flavoured. Rather than being washed out, the flavour seemed to have intensified. Served in a smaller quantity as an accompaniment with other items this could work well as a contrasting element of flavour.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔