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Gratin of Sautéed Cauliflower, Tomato, Pine Nuts & Saffron

Scott Phillips

Servings: five.

Inspired by the flavors of Sicily, this side dish is my answer to the usual smothered-in-cheese gratin. I like to serve this with braised lamb and a simple, hearty salad.


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 slices firm white sandwich bread, toasted and crusts trimmed
  • 6 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 2 lb.), cut into medium florets (about 3/4 inch at the widest point)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large pinch saffron (about 25 threads)
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dried currants

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 330
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 190
  • Fat (g): 21
  • Saturated Fat (g): 3
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 430
  • Carbohydrates (g): 34
  • Fiber (g): 8
  • Protein (g): 9


  • In a small, dry skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat, shaking the pan frequently, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Tear the toasted bread slices into bite-size pieces and put them in a food processor. Process until you have coarse crumbs, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl, drizzle with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil, mix well, and toss with 1 Tbs. of the chopped parsley.
  • Heat the oven to 375°F. In a 12-inch skillet (preferably ovenproof), heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and sauté until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and continue sautéing until the cauliflower is deep golden brown and tender but still firm, another 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to a small bowl.
  • Add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil to the skillet, still over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the saffron and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and currants and simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens and the currants plump, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in the cauliflower, pine nuts, and remaining 1 Tbs. parsley. If the skillet isn’t ovenproof, transfer the mixture to a 9×9-inch shallow baking dish or a medium gratin dish.
  • Sprinkle the cauliflower with the breadcrumbs. Bake to heat through and meld flavors, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • MarjorieA | 12/21/2007

    I love this recipe. The browning adds a nice touch of sweetness and the tomatoes and pine nuts add flavor. It is also very easy to put together, makes a nice covered dish.

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