Cavolfiore Palma a la Leah (Pan-Roasted Cauliflower)

October  8, 2013
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

My friends and I stumbled upon the cutest Italian restaurant in the West Village that is truly a hidden gem (which is why I decline to name it here) and it has since been the venue for a number of our families' important dinners, including my wedding rehearsal dinner. They serve this cauliflower dish as an appetizer but it's more of a side dish in my mind. It's definitely my favorite thing on the menu and everything they make is amazing, so this one is quite special. I'm not sure if I'm replicating it exactly, but I come pretty close.

The original recipe features currants, but lacking those at the moment I substituted golden sultana raisins and a little bit of sumac for the slight tartness you'd get from currants but is sadly absent from a raisin. You could probably use dried cranberries (the unsweetened kind if you can find them) or any other slightly sweet, slightly tart dried fruit you like. —pigisyummy

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: pigisyummy is a lifelong New Yorker obsessed with food.
WHAT: A strapping side dish, inspired by a restaurant appetizer.
HOW: Just floret, sauté, and make a magical bread crumb situation. Combine everything together as one, and eat.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This side is the best treatment of cauliflower we've had in a while: it lets the produce shine, thrums with careful, gentle seasoning, and isn't shy with the breadcrumbs and pine nuts. (Because, really, why should you be?) This will be on our tables for a long time coming. —The Editors

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac (optional; no need to use if using currants)
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a few pinches
  • 1 pinch Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup golden sultana raisins (dried cranberries or regular raisins), chopped (or currants not chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Freshly grated pecorino (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Cut the florets off the stems and and then chop them into tiny florets. You can also chop up the stems into tiny pieces if you want. You should have about 6 cups of chopped cauliflower.
  2. In a large sauté pan, toast the pine nuts over medium low heat. Once toasted and fragrant, remove them from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the cauliflower, 1 teaspoon of salt, rosemary, and sumac. Sauté until cauliflower is tender and starts to brown a bit, stirring as necessary. You can also add a bit of olive oil if the pan starts to get too dry or the cauliflower is starting to stick.
  4. While cauliflower is cooking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Once oil is shimmering, toss in the breadcrumbs and stir, toasting the breadcrumbs. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and toss in half of the chopped parsley.
  5. When cauliflower is done, remove from the heat and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and a pinch or so of salt if necessary. Toss in the toasted pine nuts, the chopped raisins, and the remaining parsley.
  6. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top with the toasted breadcrumbs and some pecorino.

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