Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cauliflower-My New Friend

Growing up in the states, cauliflower wasn’t the most exciting vegetable around. The Jolly Green Giant presented it in a couple of ways. Boiled with a melted cheese sauce on top was not one of my favorites. (Sorry, Mom) In Naples, however, cauliflower plays an important role on the menu during the holiday season. It is the backbone to the famous insalata di rinforza. Each family has their own variation to the recipe. After 16 Neapolitan holiday seasons, I finally came across a version that I had me asking for seconds. Wanda Ranieri (Fabrizio Erbaggio’s mom), cooks her cauliflower until it is morbido morbido (very soft), then adds vegetables which she has marinated herself; peppers anchovies, mushrooms, capers, and olives to name a few. Then, just the right amount of olive oil before she mixes it all together. Wow! I’ve had the opportunity to try this dish on several occasions during the last couple of weeks, and Wanda, you have made cauliflower my new friend!

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