Baked Romanesco Broccoli With Mozzarella and Olives
Sicilian cooks make a traditional cauliflower dish, using a pale-green variety that is baked with soft mild sheep’s milk cheese and studded with meaty black olives. It can also be made with romanesco broccoli (confusingly called Roman cauliflower in English), the very bright chartreuse-colored cauliflower with pointy spiral florets you find at farmer’s markets. But regular white cauliflower is fine, and will give delicious results, too.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Salt and pepper
- 2or 3 medium heads romanesco broccoli (about 3 pounds)
- 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
- 1pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1cup grated pecorino or Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
- 1dozen soft black oil-cured olives, or another type of black olive, pitted
- 1teaspoon roughly chopped capers
- 4roughly chopped anchovy fillets
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- ½teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- Pinch of dried oregano
Step 1Put a large pot of well-salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Step 2Cut broccoli into quarters and trim away the core and any tough bits. Chop quarters into rough 2-inch cubes. Transfer to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Step 3Lightly oil an earthenware baking dish. Arrange blanched broccoli in one layer. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Step 4Tear mozzarella slices and scatter over the top, then sprinkle with pecorino. Arrange olives here and there. In a small bowl, stir together capers, anchovy, garlic, red pepper and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle mixture evenly over the top.
Step 5Bake for about 30 minutes, until cheese has browned a bit and broccoli is tender when pierced with a fork. Let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a good pinch of dried oregano.