The milk, sweet, almost nutty flavor of cauliflower is enhanced when roasted. Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed or eaten raw. I served this dish last night and everyone liked it. I made it in advance up to the point of putting it in the oven.
Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts & Raisins
2 Tbs raisins
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (4 cups)
1 tsp sugar
2 cups tomatoes—drained, peeled, seeded and chopped
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs pine nuts
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 Tbs chopped parsley
1 ½ Tbs fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, cover the raisins with water; let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch ovenproof skillet, heat the oil. Add the cauliflower and sugar and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cauliflower starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat to moderate and cook until the cauliflower is lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes and crushed red pepper, season with salt and black pepper and cook until the tomatoes have begun to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the raisins to the cauliflower, along with 1/4 cup hot water, the pine nuts and chopped garlic. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the cauliflower for about 30 minutes, until it is very tender. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve the cauliflower warm.
The cooked cauliflower can stand at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Re-warm the cauliflower in a 350° oven before serving.