This is a great side dish when figs are in abundance. For us, that is in late summer and early fall. You can use any type of cauliflower (white, orange, etc., but don’t substitute broccoli because it will get mushy)
2- 3 T. good quality olive oil
1 small to medium head of cauliflower
6 (or more if you choose) ripe figs
3 – 4 T. grated parmesan
2 – 3 scallions
2 T. capers
1/2 lemon or fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
1. Remove outer leaves from cauliflower and separate the head into large florets with up to 2 inches of the stem attached (see picture above).
2. Gently wash the figs and cut off the stem end. Slice the figs in half from stem to bottom and set aside. Thinly slice the scallions and set aside.
3. Wash and gently (but pretty thoroughly) dry the florets and place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (and which is large enough to later accommodate the figs, as well). Toss with 1 – 2 T. of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat the oven to 450°F, using the convection setting if you have it. When hot, add the cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes or until the tops begin to have brown spots and the underside is nicely golden brown.
4. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and carefully turn the florets making room to add the figs.
5. Using tongs, place the figs cut side up on the pan with the cauliflower, and sprinkle both with the parmesan, keeping as much on the cauliflower and figs as possible.
6. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes until the figs are hot and beginning to sag a bit and the cauliflower is nicely browned.
7. Meanwhile, heat just under 1 T. of olive oil in a small fry pan over medium heat. Drain the capers on a paper towel (the drier they are the less they will splatter when fried). Fry the capers for 1 – 2 minutes until they begin to crisp.
8. Place the cauliflower and figs on a platter and scatter the fried capers and scallions over them. Top with a grinding of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.