Garlic, anchovies, lemon and parsley flavour a simple-to-prepare roasted cauliflower dish. Leah Eskin shares a recipe that can be tried this week
DinerenBlanc—dinnerin white is an enchanting idea. Guests, dressed in their inest whites, learn last-minute the unlikely location of their meal say, outside Lincoln Center. Exhibiting, in the words of the international organisation, “decorum, elegance, and etiquette,” they stage a posh picnic.
I’m all for unlikely, for elegance, for picnic, though in the 30 years since a guy named Francois Pasquier suggested his friends get together in a park, in white, I’ve never attended the event. The secret society meets in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, and Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and other spots I frequent infrequently. Like, never.
In fact, the whole project, while very public who can miss 10,000 Parisians, in white, dining under the Eiffel Tower — it’s also very private. You have to be invited.
Instead, I pull together my own white night. I prepare an all-white meal steamed haddock, stewed cannellini beans, slivered endive, roasted caulilower warmed with garlic and anchovy. I cue up the remastered “White Album.” Dressed in an elegantly distressed white T-shirt, I reveal the location kitchen table and enjoy Diner en Blanc, home-style.
CAULIFLOWER PREP: 15 MINUTES COOK: 30 MINUTES MAKES: 4 SERVINGS INGREDIENTS
2 FIRM HEADS CAULIFLOWER OLIVE OIL 1 CLOVE GARLIC 1 TEASPOON KOSHER SALT 1/2 TEASPOON FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
4 TO 6 ANCHOVY FILLETS
FRESHLY SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE 2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH PARSLEY PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE, GRATED, OPTIONAL
1. Roast: Heat oven to 425. Trim away caulilower cores; cut the heads into lorets. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender and browned in many spots, tossing once or twice, 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Mash: Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to mash garlic and salt to a paste. Drop in pepper and anchovies and mash. Work in 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil.
3. Toss: When caulilower is done, scrape it into a serving bowl. Toss with anchovy sauce. Taste and add lemon juice or olive oil if needed. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a little cheese, if you like.