Nom Nom Paleo

Pizzeria Delfina’s Spicy Cauliflower

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I miss Pizzeria Delfina something fierce. Once upon a time, our carb-addicted family visited the joint once a month, gorging on pizzas and inventive, lusty veggie accompaniments — but it’s been over a year-and-a-half since we last broke bread there. Now that we’re Paleo, I’m not sure if/when we’ll be back.

One of my favorite side dishes at Delfina was their spicy cauliflower appetizer — the florets were fried until golden and crunchy on the outside and tossed with pepper flakes, garlic, capers, and bread crumbs.

I found the original recipe online and made this dish tonight with a few tweaks to make it Paleo-friendly. The dish was just how I remembered — toasty, tender, spicy, and piquant.

Here’s what I gathered to feed four people:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)

Here’s how I made it:

I grabbed a head of cauliflower…

…and trimmed around the core to release the florets.

I heated the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and when it was shimmering, I dropped in the cauliflower along with a generous sprinkle of salt. 

(Make sure the cauliflower isn’t overcrowded — fry in two batches if you must!)

While the cauliflower browned in the skillet, I sliced the garlic, measured the capers…

…and chopped the parsley.

I kept flipping the florets to make sure they were brown all over (8-10 minutes total). 

Once the cauliflower was toasty, I tossed the capers, parsley, and garlic in the pan and stir-fried everything until the garlic was browned. As a final step, I threw in the Aleppo pepper and adjusted the seasoning with additional salt.

See? Cauliflower is so damn versatile!

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

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I love cauliflower ‘cause it’s such a versatile vegetable. You can roast it with bacon, make “fried rice,” or transform it into pseudo-mashed potatoes. Here’s yet another way I like to cook it: Roast the florets with a generous dusting of specialty curry powder.

I first came across this recipe on super brainiac/foodie Darya Pino’s awesome website, Summer Tomato. She calls this dish “Roasted Curried Cauliflower to Die For,” and I have to admit I’d gladly impale myself on a rusty sword for some. I make this recipe all the time, but with some slight modifications: I use avocado oil in place of olive oil, and I add a squirt of lemon juice and a shower of chopped cilantro at the end.

Here’s what I assembled (serves 2-3):

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into uniform florets
  • A generous glug of avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or ghee
  • 2-4 tablespoons of curry powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

Here’s how I made this dish:

After preheating my oven to 450 F and putting the rack in the lower middle of the oven, I threw the florets in a bowl and tossed them with a generous amount of fat (~2 tablespoons), curry powder, salt, and pepper.

My favorite curry powder is from Singapore. My co-worker bought some during a recent visit, and he gave me a jar.

He has penmanship like a doctor: It’s effing terrible.

I poured the seasoned florets on a foil-lined baking sheet and covered it tightly with another sheet of foil. I put the tray in the oven for 15 minutes and then I removed the top layer of foil. I roasted the cauliflower for 20 more minutes, flipping the florets every 8 minutes or so until they were softened and browned in parts.

After I plated the dish, I finished it by squeezing on the juice of half a lemon and sprinkling on some cilantro. 

Easy and yummy. Next time, I’m gonna try making Melicious’s awesome-looking cocoa-toasted cauliflower dish.