This sauteed cauliflower recipe is a side dish I’ve been cooking at home all summer long. It wasn’t supposed to be a “blog recipe,” but dammit it’s good, and it deserves to be immortalized among the interwebs.
As I’d just learned after doing a quick Google search, this is a riff of a traditional Italian antipasto dish of steamed cauliflower with tuna, capers, vinegar and olive oil. Mine is a bit different in that the cauliflower is sauteed, which gives it that coveted caramelization, and then steamed in the same skillet, which makes it a little more tender. Bonus points for being a one-pan wonder.
Cauliflower is a bit of a blank canvas – it’s mild on its own so it tends to absorb the flavors of whatever it is combined with (it’s the chicken of the vegetable world, basically). The flavors in this dish are truly perfect for summer: tuna and briny capers for that oceanic punch of salt, garlic and red pepper flakes for spice and heat, herbs for a note of grassy freshness. Try it before summer’s over!
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets and sliced into bite-size pieces
- Sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- One 3-ounce bottle non-pareil capers, drained
- One 3-ounce can of tuna packed in olive oil (I use Cento brand), drained
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil or parsley (or mixture of both)
- In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add cauliflower, season with pinches of salt and pepper, and toss to coat cauliflower in oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until cauliflower starts to brown.
- Add water to pan and allow cauliflower to steam until most of the water evaporates, about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, capers, tuna and lemon juice and stir to thoroughly combine. Turn heat off and stir in herbs. Transfer cauliflower to a serving platter and garnish with extra herbs and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve hot or warm.