6 to 8 servings as a side dish
I cook cauliflower many ways and my family loves them all (certainly I do). But if some in your family don’t like the distinctive, “sulfur” quality in cooked cauliflower, try this skillet method. It eliminates the sulfur taste and produces a cauliflower floret that’s entirely different than a boiled one—crispy on the edges and almost coated with a sweet caramelization.
- 1 large cauliflower (1-1/2 to 2 pounds untrimmed, with leaves and stem)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Tear or cut off all the outer leaves attached to the base of the cauliflower, then cut out the bottom core. Separate the head into big florets, snapping them apart or slicing them from the inner stem. Now cut the big florets into 1-inch chunks or thick slices (don’t break up the clusters of tiny florets) so you have 6 cups or more of roughly equal-sized cauliflower pieces. Put the 4 tablespoons of oil into a large skillet or sauté pan (one that has a cover) and set over low-medium heat. Scatter the garlic slices and peperoncino in the oil and pile in all the cauliflower. Sprinkle the salt all over the florets, give the pan a few good shakes and put on the cover. Let the cauliflower “sweat,” giving the pan an occasional shake, for about 4 minutes. Then remove the cover and toss everything together well, by jerking the pan (like chefs do) or just turning the vegetables with a spoon. Cover, cook another 3 minutes then toss well again. By this time, the edges of some of the cauliflower pieces should have started to brown. If not, turn the heat up just a bit. Cover the pan and let the cauliflower continue to caramelize slowly, tossing the pieces every few minutes, until they are tender, fragrant and beautifully browned—12 to 15 minutes in the pan in all.