Friday, May 23, 2014

Olive-Bar Puttanesca with Cauliflower Chops

(This is one of the dishes we served at the wonderful 2014 Project Green Fork Spring Supper on 6/1/14 at Southward Fare & Libations!)

I love the olive bar. It just may be my favorite part of the whole entire grocery store. I really can't think of one item on it that I don't love, so it's natural that I'm so into this sauce. It's comprised of all the amazing things found on the olive bar and is in the style of a spicy puttanesca sauce. (We've played around with the same idea before for pasta and flatbread; this new recipe is a good low-carb option.)

Grab a quart container at the end of the olive bar and start filling that sucker up. First thing to remember is that you want to get the pitted olives for this dish. I don't mind a little work in the kitchen, but there is no need to put yourself through pitting a half-quart of olives when there are perfectly good pitted olives sitting right there. Second thing is to buy the olives you like. I prefer a mix of spicy calamata and large green Greek olives. You get what you like. 

Next, throw in a bunch of those awesome sweet pickled peppers. This will help add balance to your sauce. Lastly, top it off with a a dozen or so of the roasted garlic cloves that are always on the olive bar. You should have about a half quart of olives and about a half quart of peppers, garlic, and anything else you see that looks good. Don't cram it full, though; it should be lightly packed.

This puttanesca sauce is chunky and textured. I like it like that! We serve it over Cauliflower Chops, which are just big hunks of cauliflower roasted in the oven. The stem sticks out like a bone-in pork chop  so visually it's pretty cool. This sauce is also at home as a pizza sauce or over some penne pasta. It's very flavorful, so leave it as is or top it with Romano, herbs, and pine nuts if you like. 

Olive-Bar Puttanesca with Cauliflower Chops

Cauliflower Chops (recipe follows)
2 medium carrots

2 medium ribs of celery
2 medium shallot
1 quart mix of spicy olives, sweet peppers, roasted garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt-packed capers (rinsed)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 large can organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes

Using the slicing blade on the food processor, slice the carrots, celery, and shallots and  set aside. Next, using the same blade, slice all of the stuff from the olive bar: pitted olives, sweet peppers, roasted garlic. Set that aside in a separate bowl.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once that starts to shimmer, add the carrot, celery, shallot mixture. Cook until softened and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until most of the mine has evaporated. Add the sliced olive bar mixture along with the capers, Italian seasoning, and the tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, until everything is warmed through. There is no need to salt this sauce due to the salt content of the olives and capers.

Serve Cauliflower Chops family-style on a large platter smothered in Olive-Bar Puttanesca. (Serves 8.) 

Cauliflower Chops

2 large heads cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)

Carefully trim the leaves away from the stem of each cauliflower but leave the stem intact. Quarter each cauliflower starting at the stem so you are left with 4 wedges from each for a totl of 8. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and sherry and balsamic vinegars. Brush each cauliflower liberally with the mixture. Place cauliflower into a cold oven and set the temperature to 425 degrees. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender; be sure to flip the cauliflower halfway through the cooking time. 
(Serves 8.)


Leslie said...

This sounds amazing. I told my husband about it and he said it sounded complicated. We'll find out!

@sarahspy said...

this sounds AMAZING. totally up my alley.

Cheryl said...

My goodness, that photo is amAZING. It's so sharp, and the aperture is just perfect. Also love the boards.. I still need to whitewash some myself but I'm so lazy when it comes to props. Intimidation, most likely!

Do you use natural or artificial lighting?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Thanks!! That shot was all natural lighting. No props either. That's our outdoor dining table!

Tender B. said...

Great picture. The recipes sounds positively fabulous.

Pub Table With Stools said...

It's comprised of all the amazing things found on the olive bar and is in ...