The first time I ate chicken piccata I was having dinner at a high school friend’s house. I still remember my curiosity about this dish with exotic capers and a bright citrus flavor. I don’t think I had ever eaten capers before. I certainly fell hard for them that night and they’ve become a go to kitchen staple ever since. This cauliflower piccata brings the bright saline of the capers and the mouth puckering lemon flavors to the forefront of a delicious vegetable dish.
Mediterranean dishes were not a part of my childhood dinner vocabulary. For me, Italian food consisted of red sauce over spaghetti, lasagna, or pizza that is until I met a family from Brooklyn but that’s a story for another day. Since high school, I’ve been delighted to find chicken piccata on menus far and wide. It can be thought of a meal dated from the early ’80’s along with chicken marsala. However, for me these dishes give a sense of comfort and simple food. I do think that everything is new again why not bring chicken marsala out at your next dinner party? I’m sure after all these years it would be a fun and delicious way to serve up a easy chicken dinner.
As for chicken piccata, I’ve come up with my own interpretation to show off those amazing flavors without eating a ton of butter. As a plus it’s an easy meal to make in less than a half hour. Recently, I decided to interpret chicken piccata as a vegetarian meal. Well, you could say it’s more of a vegetarian meal for a friend and a fantastic side dish for us. With it’s ability to take on just about any flavor cauliflower is the perfect vehicle to eat those salty capers. It’s quite simple to make but be sure to get high heat in a heavy bottomed pan so you get those wonderful bits of caramelized cauliflower. We often make it as a weeknight side dish but I’d be happy to serve it at a dinner party as well.
- 1 large head of cauliflower, stalk removed and broken into florets
- 3 tablespoons of capers
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
- 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Set a heavy bottomed sauté pan over medium high heat then add in coconut oil and let melt.
- When hot, add cauliflower to pan to roast, flip the pieces over every 2 minutes to allowing some to caramelize.
- Once cauliflower is al dente, add in the capers (don't worry if there's some juice with them) and the juice of 1 lemon.
- Stir to incorporate and allow the lemon juice to soften the cauliflower a bit more.
- Add pepper.
- Taste and add salt or more lemon juice if necessary.
- Add in flat leaf parsley before serving.