Cauliflower with Almonds & Grapes
From chef Tony Chittum of Vermilion; Alexandria, Virginia
“My family always served notoriously dry turkey, ham, canned corn, canned cranberry sauce, Grands! biscuits, bland mashed potatoes, and pretty bad gravy,” Chittum says. “That’s just the way it was!” But the chef has been slowly taking over the menu, incorporating flavors he discovered working in other kitchens while keeping the meal traditional. “I am not looking for anything trendy,” he says. “I am going for authentic handmade foods.” For his take on roasted cauliflower, Chittum pulls flavors from Italian antipasti to create a dish that can be done ahead of time and served at room temperature. “When my family tastes a dish like this—that’s new to them—their response is often ‘Oh, I didn’t think I liked that.’”
2 heads cauliflower (about 1½ pounds each), stemmed and broken into small florets, about 1½ inches in size
2½ tbsp. olive oil mixed with 2 tsp. curry powder, 1½ tsp. coarse salt, and good pinch pepper
½ cup roasted Marcona almonds
¼ cup quartered green seedless grapes
2 tbsp. drained capers
3 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley,roughly chopped
Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Toss cauliflower with spiced olive oil until fully coated. Place on a sheet tray (but do not stack florets) and roast in oven until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Once cooled, place the roasted cauliflower in a large mixing bowl and carefully fold together with the almonds and remaining ingredients. Stir well and allow to chill for at least one hour. Remove from refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving. Season with salt and pepper.
“You do best with the food you grew up with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add your new influences”—Tony Chittum