“I love the simplicity of caponatas, and the big flavors that come from it are always a hit with family or friends.”

Using cauliflower off the grill, I get to satisfy a constant craving for the underutilized vegetable, and to showcase the allure of its ability to take on smoke and flavor with high heat. The versatility of this caponata is front and center as a garnish for roasted meats or fish, or simply on its own with crusty bread.

It is always a go-to in my pantry, and it’s a feature of our opening menu at Alden & Harlow.


  • 2 heads cauliflower, sliced and seasoned with salt and EVOO
  • 2 red onions, halved and sliced very thin

  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed with a knife, rough chopped

  • 6 tablespoons capers, drained

  • 6 ounces pine nuts

  • 2 cups mixed raisins, rehydrated in warm tap water

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped


  1. Grill your cauliflower slices quickly on a medium high setting. If you have a perforated grill pan, use it — it will help any small, rogue pieces from falling into your grill grates.
  2. Next, sweat the onion, garlic, capers, pine nuts, raisins, crushed red pepper in EVOO. Do it on a low heat — there is no rush, and the flavors will really develop as the sweetness of the raisins give to the salty brine of the capers. Taste the mix when cool and add salt and pepper to your taste, keeping in mind that capers probably did the job for you.
  3. Fold the onion, garlic and caper mix into the cauliflower. Season with red wine vinegar. Fold in oregano and parsley leaves.
  4. Serve at room temperature as a condiment to a meat or fish, or serve on its own with fresh vegetables or toasted baguette slices.