God bless Deb from Smitten Kitchen.

I am not alone in my chick-chef crush that I have on this woman. Alongside my ex-coworker and fellow cook (not to mention amazing friend), Miss Susie and I often muse about the newest recipe we have tried from her repertoire of delights. Deb has inspired many dishes that have thus far never failed, not to mention her extreme friendliness towards vegetarians. I follow her on twitter and check her blog daily, feeling somewhat disappointed if she hasn’t updated. I even secretly long for her life now that she has an adorable baby that is so incredibly cute that I just got pregnant writing and linking his picture.

I’m now crossing into scary-stalker territoy and I would much rather keep this less frightening and more nerdy.

Here is the latest experiment: Cauliflower with almonds, raisins and capers. (Trust me, there will be more SK experiments.) I think there is a common misconception among meat-eaters that vegetarians are malnourished and we only gnaw on raw carrots with hummus and an occasional ice berg lettuce salad… at least, that seems to be the impression of some of my family/friends back in Minnesota. This recipe is proof that none of those theories are correct and that even cauliflower (cauliflower!) can be amazing. Enjoy.

Cauliflower with almonds, raisins, and capers

Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins, and Capers

from Smitten Kitchen

1 head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp fresh soft bread crumbs
1 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp whole almonds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp golden raisins
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 tsp finely chopped parsley
1 tsp finely chopped tarragon
1 tsp finely sliced chives.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cauliflower from top to bottom in 1-inch slices. Place a large ovenproof skillet (we used our creuset) over low heat and add one tablespoon butter. When it has melted, add bread crumbs and toss until toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a plate and wipe out pan.

Return pan to medium heat and add one teaspoon olive oil. Add almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer almonds to a plate, let cool, and cut each almond into 2-3 pieces.

Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add remaining one tablespoon olive oil and cauliflower slices. Sauté until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer pan to oven and roast until tender, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and add raisins, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water. Simmer until raisins are plump and soft, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine almonds, capers, raisins, parsley, tarragon and chives. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.

Arrange roasted cauliflower on a serving platter. Spoon almond-herb mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve immediately.