Spicy Cauliflower

With Saffron, Honey & Capers


Cauliflower, with its pale color and lightly musky taste, is built to take on bolder flavors. Here, the creamy florets create a backdrop for the brash regal saffron, intense briny capers, and habanero kick.


  • teaspoon crumbled saffron
  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds/910 grams)
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cheek of a habanero pepper (or any spicy red chili), thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup (30 grams) capers
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (15 grams) roughly chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a small bowl, combine the saffron with ¾ cup (180 milliliters) warm water and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Trim the tough outer leaves from the cauliflower. Cut in half, cut off and discard the dense white interior stem, and break the cauliflower into 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) florets.
  3. Cut the shallots in half lengthwise and cut the halves lengthwise into wedges ¼ inch (6 millimeters) thick.
  4. In a wide sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the shallots and cook until softened and just turning golden around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the habanero, capers, and honey and cook until the shallots are browned, about 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the cauliflower, salt, and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until the cauliflower is well coated with the shallot mixture.
  6. Add the saffron water and stir to coat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until all the water has been absorbed and the cauliflower is tender, about 12 minutes.
  7. Uncover, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.