Tomato-Braised Cauliflower With Feta and Mint
Note: This is Milk Street's version of the classic Greek dish kounoupithi kapama. Cauliflower florets, browned and braised, pick up the fruitiness of olive oil and the savory-sweet notes of a garlicky, lightly spiced tomato sauce. Raisins add pops of sweetness, and feta and mint finish the dish with layers of saltiness and bracing herbal notes. If you like, add toasted sliced almonds for texture. Serve with a simple rice or orzo pilaf, or with bread. Don't use a head of cauliflower larger than 2 pounds. The florets and sliced onion will end up crowded in the pot, which will affect browning and braising. And don't be afraid to let the tomato paste brown and cling to the bottom of the pot, as this helps develop flavor. From "Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean," by Christopher Kimball (Voracious, 2021).
• 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
• 2 lb. cauliflower, trimmed and cut to 2-in. florets
• Kosher salt and ground black pepper
• 1/4 c. tomato paste
• 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 1 1/4 c. water
• 3 tbsp. raisins
• 1 tbsp. honey
• 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 3 oz. (3/4 c.) feta cheese, crumbled
• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring often, until the onion is browned and the cauliflower is golden brown in spots, about 10 minutes.
Push the vegetables to the edges of the pot and add the tomato paste, garlic and pepper flakes to the center. Cook, stirring the ingredients at the center, gradually combining them with the vegetables until fully incorporated and the tomato paste begins to darken and stick to the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 1/4 cups water, the raisins, honey, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, then stir, scraping the bottom of the pot, until the tomato paste is completely blended into the liquid. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until a skewer inserted into the cauliflower meets no resistance, about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the feta and mint.