By George Sabatino

Authors Notes

This dish is inspired by the cauliflower itself, a new variety for me. I love its sweetness and thought it would be nice to play off of it with dried fruit, briny olives, and nutty browned butter. 

Using liquid in the pan after searing the cauliflower helps it cook through- this way there’s no need to turn the oven on for roasting.

Fish sauce is totally optional but for me really gives the dish a cravable quality.

I would serve this as a warm appetizer for 2 or as an accompaniment to roasted chicken or as part of a larger vegetarian spread

Serves 2 as an appetizer or side dish


For The Relish: (can be made a day ahead of time)

1 tablespoon dried cranberries, chopped

6 ea medium olives, preferably Mediterranean mix, sliced

1 teaspoon EVOO

1 teaspoon olive brine (optional)

1 ea lemon, zest + juice

1 dash fish sauce (4-5 drops)

1 pinch red chili flake

1 pinch kosher salt

6 ea parsley leaves, chopped

4 ea mint leaves, chopped

For The Cauliflower:

1 tablespoon neutral oil such as canola

½ pound flowering cauliflower

2 pinches kosher salt

½ lemon juice, fresh squeezed

¼ cup water

For The Brown Butter Vinaigrette:

4 tablespoons butter, UNSALTED

2 tablespoons green garlic, sliced (about 1 stalk)

1 tablespoon almonds, chopped (or any nut you have on hand besides peanuts)

½ lemon juice, fresh squeezed

1 pinch kosher salt

Method + Assembly

Relish Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix well, check seasoning, adjust if needed. Set aside.

Cauliflower Method:

  1. In a sauté pan large enough to hold all the vegetables- heat oil over medium high flame until shimmering. Add the cauliflower in a single layer, season with salt, allow to caramelize without moving- about 4 minutes. 
  2. Flip the pan and allow it to caramelize for another 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and water, reduce to medium flame and cook until liquid is 98% evaporated-about 4 minutes. This will help cook the cauliflower through- you want it to still have some texture so check halfway through. 
  3. Check seasoning and adjust as needed. Turn out onto a tray and hold somewhere warm.

Brown Butter Vinaigrette Method: 

  1. While the cauliflower is searing, melt the butter in a small saute pan over medium high heat. Once it starts to bubble and slightly change color add the green garlic, shake well and allow to toast- about 1 minute. 
  2. When the butter is nicely browned add the almonds, lemon juice and salt. Remove from the heat but hold on the stove, in a warm place. We will plate up right away once the vinaigrette is RTG.

Putting The Dish Together:

  1. Place the cauliflower into the center of the plate, kind of stacking it in an alternating pattern, or however your heart tells you to. 
  2. Mix the relish in its bowl then spoon down the center on the cauliflower. Drizzle any liquid in the bowl all over the cauliflower as well.
  3. Shake the vinaigrette in the pan and spoon all over and around the cauliflower but not on the relish as it could wilt the herbs.
  4. Serve immediately. 


George Sabatino is a Philadelphia chef who is dedicating his career to developing vegetable focused dishes, with special attention to sourcing locally and treating all ingredients (and their journeys from farm to table) with respect and purpose.