I don’t think of myself as a fancy cook. Presentation is not one of my first thoughts, but I am not insensible to an attractive-looking dish as long as its appearance signals the flavors I am about to experience. The tomato dice and the green olive sections look very pretty in this Apulian-style cauliflower, but they are there for reasons of taste. Cauliflower, if it hasn’t been around too long, can be quite mild, sometimes tediously so. Here, however, the residual bitterness of the olives and the acidulousness of the tomato help the cauliflower’s potential sweetness make taste impressions that, by contrast, are both more intense and more lively. Bear in mind that cauliflower is one vegetable that wants to be cooked thoroughly—not until it is mushy, of course, but it has to be decidedly tender; otherwise, it will always retain a disagreeable trace of sourness.
© 1997 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.