Panko Gremolata on ANYTHING

Cauliflower again!  The magical cauliflower makes an appearance at least once a week these days, usually more.  Tossed into lentil soup, roasted alongside potato chunks, finely chopped into salads, you name it, I’m doing it.  As a kid I think I only ate cauliflower one way, the most 90’s way humanly possible; smothered in warm gooey bright orange velveeta cheese!  Do you even know what velveeta is? Wiki tells me Velveeta; is a processed cheese product having a taste most similar to American Cheese with a texture that is softer and smoother.  SO TRUE!!! Seriously, do not knock it until you try it.  My mom used to steam the whole head of cauliflower until fork tender, cover it with velveeta and serve with a knife to cut off chunks and a spoon to catch the warm saucy part that fell straight to the bottom.  This is not that. But it is also really tasty and comforting!

This is something much lighter and layered in texture and flavor. This is a cauliflower gremolata. A gremolata refers to the combination of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. In this case I combined it with panko bread crumbs and some other good stuff and blanketed my roasted cauliflower.  The cozy crunchy combination was just right for me.

Can you tell the scale of this humongous cauliflower? I guess I didn’t set it up so you could understand the mass, so you will have to trust that this guy was/is huge. There is still some in my fridge! I have worked my way through it on several different occasions, knocking a block off here and there and I swear it remains. I almost can’t believe it.  Ok, enough about this guy.

You could totally stop here.   Eat this as a side dish, snack, salad, whatever pleases you, it’s great, you did it.  OR if you are like me you see this and you are compelled to put an egg on it.  An egg on something of this nature is as like the proverbial cherry on an icecream sundae. Only in this case it is not an afterthought that often gets left behind in the bowl. It is critical.  When you plop an egg on it you are consenting to the fact that the dish would be enhanced by runny gooey yolk mixing through it.  That is the agreement, otherwise you could eat the egg on the side!  Its purpose is clear…to get the party started.

True Story!  I started off doing a poached egg for the top, everything was going swimmingly, I took a picture or two of the final dish, moved the bowl to get better light and the poached egg slipped right down the side of the mountain of cauliflower and landed half on the rim of the bowl and half in a pool on the decorative dish towel.  Seeing as how I make this food to EAT after I photograph it I quickly threw a fried egg on the fire and I was back in action in no time.  It was destiny, I thought, the fried egg works even better on this dish.

Panko Gremolata on Cauliflower + Fried Egg for Fun *inspired by recipe from food52

This recipe is so flexible. Here is what you need to know to make it:

Cut your cauliflower into chunks (if you are feeding two people cut two bowls worth, more people, more bowls.) Roast in the oven with olive oil salt and pepper OR if you don’t want to wait for the oven to heat up just pan roast it.  Take a big pan, heat over medium fire, add a generous swig of olive oil and sprinkle salt, place cauliflower in pan and leave it, let it brown on that side. Give it 5 minutes or so and then toss and let the other side cook. This whole thing should take 10 minutes tops – they should be soft enough to pierce but not limp and have a nice browning. Squeeze some lemon on it, sprinkle with black pepper, dump into your bowls.

Using the same pan heat up another couple swigs of olive oil, add a bunch of panko breadcrumbs, I did about 2/3 cup per bowl ( i like crunch!).  Move it around and coat the crumbs, they will turn golden fast, lower your heat and keep them moving until they are browned not burned.  Toss in your zest, lemon, orange, whatever you got, toss in 3 cloves chopped garlic, toss in parsley, sea salt, anything else that tickles you. Once everything is nicely incorporated and toasty put this stuff all over your cauliflower stuff.

Wipe out the same pan and add butter for fried eggs. This can be done in several pans simultaneously but its so nice to only wash the one when it’s over. Once the eggs are to your liking, place them on top, get that egg yolk going all over everything and enjoy! I quirted siracha on mine as an afterthought – next time I will spice up my breadcrumbs.

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