Califonia Bountiful
Side Dish

Roasted cauliflower with pepperoncini, chickpeas and basil

Blanching before roasting is the trick to avoiding shriveled vegetables, chef John Paolone said. Blanching softens and partially cooks the vegetables so the finished product is "still vibrant, still plump, still moist, still delicious."

Chef John Paolone
Café Firenze, Moorpark

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1 head cauliflower
Olive oil, to taste
1 (15- to 16-oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
6 pepperoncini, sliced
1 to 2 tsp. ground cumin
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
5 large leaves fresh basil, hand torn
Grated pecorino cheese, to taste


Clean cauliflower, cut into florets and cook in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes or until partially cooked, but still firm. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Spread on paper towels to dry.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and preheat a large, ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the skillet and add cauliflower. Sauté until cauliflower starts to caramelize, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, pepperoncini, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir and place in oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove from oven and add basil. Season to taste. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with cheese.

Serves 2

Photo: © 2017 Tony Pinto

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