I never thought late-night office Seamless would prove to be as inspiring as it has (and, all right, a lot of the time it’s a little far from it), but I don’t think I would have ever come across this revelatory Sicilian cauliflower and chickpea dish if it wasn’t for a Seamless order on a random work night last winter, placed while hunting for something reasonably healthy in frigid temps that wasn’t a bone-chilling salad or an equally chilly wrap. Tucked into an unassuming plastic cup, this warm salad-y side was an afterthought when I ordered it but the highlight of my desk-side dinner when I got it — creamy chickpeas playing off of crisp, caramelized roasted cauliflower, tossed with briny, pungent capers, nose-clearing honey mustard, and a little vinegar, finished off with teeny-tiny currants for touch of jammy sweetness (which is, as always, the way to my heart) and bright, fresh parsley.
Being about as far from a Sicilian culinary expert as you could find, I was a little skeptical I could recreate this at home, but when I found that the restaurant had actually posted an at-home version of their dish online, I thought it was only fair to try. And after tweaking the recipe based on a few comments from folks who sound like they’re just as devoted to the restaurant version as I am, this is, much to my total delight, exactly like I remember it — a playful, salty-but-sweet-but-tart combination of hearty yet bright flavors. We enjoyed it over toast for an easy portable version, but it’s just as good on its own for a vibrant, but still light and nourishing, winter lunch or dinner.
Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
- for roasting:
- 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- for the breadcrumbs (optional):
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup coarse breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- for the dressing:
- 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard (if using a completely whole grain variety, like Maille old-fashioned Dijon, use 2 tsp whole grain and 1 tsp regular mustard)
- 1/3 cup raisins or currants (can substitute chopped dates; see Notes below)
- 2 tbsp capers
- for serving:
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- squeeze lemon juice
- toast, for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss cauliflower florets and chickpeas with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer onto one or two large, rimmed baking sheets. Roast in the oven, tossing occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
- Meanwhile, heat a skillet on medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, or until just golden. Add the breadcrumbs, thyme, salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes, then reduce heat to low and continue to cook slowly until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, another 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Add the chicken broth to the same saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the vinegar, honey, and mustard, and whisk to combine. Add the dried fruit of your choice, then cook until liquid reduces by about half, about 5 minutes or so. (See Notes if using dates.)
- By this time, the cauliflower and chickpeas should be about done. Remove from oven and let cool briefly, then transfer to the same large bowl you used earlier. Toss with the chicken broth mixture, the capers, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and fresh chopped parsley, then enjoy over toast or on its own. Enjoy!
If using chopped dates, you may not need as much chicken broth depending on how soft and fresh they are. If they're particularly sticky and soft, use 1/4 cup chicken broth instead of 1/2 cup, and add the dates at the same time you add the capers, rather than adding them to the chicken broth.
If you like, you can puree 1/2 cup or so of the cauliflower and chickpeas to use as a spread on the toast, which I thought helped keep the rest from rolling off, as things tend to do when I eat them. 🙂