Cauliflower is very popular in Sicily and crops up in all sorts of recipes. The local vegetable has a brilliant emerald green colouring and a much stronger flavour than your average cauliflower, but even the whitest and most bland vegetable will be revived after being stewed in red wine with olives, anchovies, onions and cheese!
Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain and set aside. Fry the onion in the olive oil. In Italy a flameproof terracotta pot is used, which can then go straight to the table. Chop the anchovies and add half to the onion, then add
Cover this mixture with cauliflower florets. Chop the remaining olives and scatter a few over the cauliflower, add a little anchovy and dust with cheese. Sprinkle with salt, cover with more cauliflower, then more olives, anchovies, cheese and a little olive oil. Continue layering until you have used up all the ingredients. Cover with the red wine, sprinkle with a last dribble of olive oil and cover with a close-fitting lid. Place on the stove to simmer very slowly for about 45 minutes. This is an ideal dish for the slowest corner of a solid-fuel cooker. Or if you have a heat diffuser plate, use it – the temperature should be well below boiling. Do not stir or disturb the layers.
Serve hot or cold with plenty of coarse country-style bread or garlic bread made with olive oil.
© 1995 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.