Sicilian cauliflower with farinata

22 January 2019

Nutty, tangy Sicilian cauliflower with capers, olives and sultanas, served with farinata, a traditional Italian pancake made from chickpea flour.

Preparation time

10 minutes

Cooking time

40 minutes

Serves

4



Ingredients

For the farinata

  • 150g chickpea flour
  • 450ml warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the cauliflower

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • Olive oil
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 4 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 400g ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 80g pitted black olives, halved
  • 40g sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons capers, chopped
  • 40g pine nuts, toasted
  • Small bunch of basil salt and pepper

Method

This dish is best served warm or at room temperature.

The tomatoes are warmed gently – you don’t want them to cook down into a sauce. Instead, let the mixture rest to allow all the favours to mingle and mature. If you have the chance or are planning ahead, let it sit for two or three hours and gently reheat it before serving. The farinata batter is all the better for a long rest, too. Farinata is a chickpea flour pancake that is perfect alongside rich veg dishes. It adds a bit of protein and mops up all the flavoursome sauce at the end. The batter looks worryingly thin, but don’t panic, it will thicken and set under the grill.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C (Gas Mark 6).

First, make the farinata batter. Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk the measured water into the flour until you have a smooth, thin batter. Whisk in the salt and olive oil. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the cauliflower florets in a roasting tray. Oil them well, then season with salt and pepper. Roast for 12–15 minutes, until nicely coloured and tender.

Warm some olive oil in a wide saucepan. Add the shallots and celery and fry gently over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until starting to soften. Mix in the tomato purée, sugar, garlic, vinegar and saffron and water. Cook for another 2–3 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved.

Now tip in the cauliflower, tomatoes, olives, sultanas and capers. Mix together, then warm gently for 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste. Leave to rest while you make the farinata.

Heat your grill on a medium-high setting. Heat a layer of olive oil in a large heatproof non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Tip in the rested farinata batter and cook it for 4–5 minutes, until the underside begins to set. Slide the frying pan under the grill and cook for a further 3–4 minutes, until fully set, coloured and crisp on top. Leave to rest for a few minutes, then turn out onto a board.

Add the pine nuts to the cauliflower, tear in the basil and mix together. Slice or tear the farinata into generous pieces and serve alongside the warm cauliflower.

Dirty Vegan

Dirty Vegan by Matt Pritchard is published by Mitchell Beazley, £20. Photography by Jamie Orlando Smith and Chris Terry. Dirty Vegan is on BBC One Wales and available on BBC iPlayer in January 2019.

For more meat-free meals visit our vegan recipe section

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.