Sweet and Sour

Without sourness, there could be no sweetness, and vice versa. Experiencing one creates the perspective necessary to appreciate the other, to truly recognize the full spectrum of flavors between the extremes. Finding balance between such starkly contrasted tastes is rare, but highly sought after judging by the popularity of the sweet and sour sauces found splashed across every generic Chinese takeout menu in America. Something about that acidic twang and its sugary foil brings us back for bite after bite, no matter the vehicle, be it protein or vegetable. Asian cultures don’t have a monopoly on this culinary game, though, despite their domination in the field.

Italian agrodolce has a sharp yet sugared character all its own, typically created by a combination of a vinegar reduction and dried fruits. It’s great as a glaze for an entree, like pan-seared tofu or tempeh, or tossed with fresh pasta for a side, but today I’m using it to kick off a party with a wallop of bold flavor.

Everyone’s favorite vegetable du jour, cauliflower, comes in a full spectrum of colors far more brilliant than the average white floret would suggest. Roasted with just a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper, the simplicity of that preparation is hard to beat, but you can easily step up your starter game with this stellar sauce. In this unconventional approach, briny capers join the fun to turn the dial to 11, but finely chopped green olives could make a fabulous, more mild understudy.

My favorite serving suggestion involves bread. Wide open planes of thick toasted bread or more dainty slices of baguette, first smeared with cashew ricotta for a rich, creamy base which elegantly cuts through these sharp contrasts.

If you’re not crazy about pairing fruit with savory vegetables, I hear you. I too would have given this combination the side eye not long ago. Suspend disbelief long enough take a chance; unlike the cloying and syrupy renditions of sweet and sour that turned me away in the past, this one, like life itself, is all about finding beauty in balance.

Yield: Makes 6 - 8 Servings

Roasted Rainbow Cauliflower Agrodolce

Roasted Rainbow Cauliflower Agrodolce

Roasted with just a touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper, cauliflower meets briny capers in this boldly colored and flavored side.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Purple, White, Green, and/or Orange Cauliflower Florets (About 3 – 4 Small Heads Total)
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 3/4 Cup Jumbo Raisin Medley or Golden Raisins
  • 1/4 Cup Sherry Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Capers, Drained
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley, Minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets, garlic, oil, salt, and
    pepper together until thoroughly combined and evenly seasoned. Arrange
    in a single layer on a large baking sheet, or divide between two baking
    sheets if needed. Place in the center of the oven and roast until golden
    brown and fork tender; about 20 – 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, mix the vinegar,
    capers, and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer
    gently until all the liquid has absorbed into the fruit.
  4. Toss the roasted cauliflower with the vinegared raisins, along with the minced parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 195 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 251mg Carbohydrates: 37g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 26g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.

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6 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour

  1. Something about the mixture of sweet and sour that is beyond amazing, love it, imagine the first person to stumble on this and have their mind blown by the discovery! :D

  2. Oh goodness the flavors mingle to create something so much greater than the sum of its parts. Seriously delicious, even with plain white cauliflower! I went with halved green olives since I didn’t have capers. What a delightful recipe!

    1. This makes me so happy! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it using the green olive option. Your comment made my day!

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