Cauliflower with a Sicilian Anchovy Crust

I like to serve this cauliflower whole. It’s a dramatic presentation and a great side-dish featuring the rustic flavors of Sicily.

Cauliflower with a Sicilian Anchovy Crust 

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  • 1 small cauliflower, left whole
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 clove garlic, 3 chopped 1 left whole
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs, made from day old rustic style italian bread (no crusts)
  • 8 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon italian parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • shaved parmesan curls for topping
  • good quality olive oil for drizzling


1. Choose a small cauliflower for this recipe. It will cook through evenly with out over cooking the exterior. Trim the cauliflower, removing all the outer green stems and leaves. Turn the color upside down and carefully remove a small cone of the stem being careful to leave all the florets attached and intact. Jam one whole garlic clove into the opening.

2. Add about 3/4 of an inch of salted water to a deep saucepan with a lid. It should be just large enough to hold the cauliflower. Which should not touch the sides or lid. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pan with the lid. Cook until tender-crisp about 5 minutes. The garlic may have fallen from it’s hole, but it is not important. It will soon be discarded. Remove the pan from heat and set aside covered while you prepare the crust. It will stay warm and continue to cook somewhat.

3. Heat the oil and butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, breadcrumbs and anchovies and cook until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and fragrant, 4–5 minutes. Pay close attention, stirring often.

4. Pre-heat a broiler. Transfer the whole cauliflower to a baking pan. Pour half of the crumbs onto a heated serving plate and the other half carefully mound on top of the cauliflower. Top the crumbs with the shaved Parmesan curls. Place the whole cauliflower under the broiler leaving about 3 inches between the top of the crumbs and the heat. Broil until just brown and bubbly.

5. Transfer the cauliflower to the serving plate and add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the top, sides and crumbs at base with a good amount of quality olive oil and serve warm.