I love cauliflower so I get interested in any new recipe that calls for it. This makes use of a bunch of staples I usually have sitting around the kitchen (at least with my slight modifications) so all I need to get is a head of cauliflower and we're off! Thankfully it was a big hit - beware the bit of browning at the beginning as it can get a little smoky in the house - I happen to love the smell of anchovies and garlic hitting hot oil but maybe keep the windows open if you're not as keen on filling the house with that fragrance.
Whole Pot-Roasted Cauliflower with Tomates and Anchovies
From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield, NYTimes
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), white, green or Romanesco
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 50g tin of anchovies packed in olive oil
¾ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
¼ cup wine, plus extra for cooking (original calls for dry white, I used a red Rioja)
1 large pinch red pepper flakes (original calls for 3, I tried 2 which A still found too spicy)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 235 degrees C (450 degrees F).
Trim any wilted leaves and brown bits off the cauliflower, but leave healthy leaves. Put the cauliflower on its side on a cutting board. As if coring a tomato, core the base of the cauliflower: insert a small sharp knife about 1 inch into the base of the stem, make a circular cut to loosen the cone-shaped core, then pry it out and discard.
In a deep, heavy ovenproof pot (with a lid), large enough to hold the whole cauliflower, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower cored side up; it should sizzle. Brown the exterior, turning it occasionally with tongs for even browning. This should take about 5 minutes; reduce the heat as needed to prevent scorching. Carefully turn over and brown the other side lightly, about 2 minutes.
Remove the cauliflower to a plate and add garlic, anchovies and rosemary to the pot. Stir until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, wine and chiles. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Return cauliflower to pot, cored side down. Baste with the tomato liquid and pile some of the solids on top. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes to thicken the tomatoes.
Cover the pot, place in the oven and roast until tender, 30 to 45 minutes; a knife will go into the thick stems with almost no resistance. Check on the tomato sauce every 10 minutes or so; it should be punchy and intense but not too thick, so add a glug of wine if it seems to be getting too dry.
Transfer the cauliflower head to a serving plate or shallow bowl and cut in half, quarters or thick slices. Spoon on all the tasty stuff left in the pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of herbs. Serve immediately or at room temperature, passing salt and red pepper flakes at the table.