I know. I’m asking you to be adventurous. Though this may seem an odd combination, it’s wonderful.
Like gin, Brussels sprouts, and oysters, people seem to love anchovies or hate them. When it comes to gin and oysters, I don’t even try to convince a hater otherwise. But Brussels sprouts, yes, I have a recipe that will convert almost anyone (coming soon), and anchovies, this recipe could be the one.
The trick is to melt the anchovies with olive oil and garlic before you add the other ingredients (as you do with Bagna Cauda). Instead of the sharp taste of fish and salt that you might experience with whole anchovies on a Caesar Salad, you’ll taste a rich and buttery flavor that only hints of anchovy. Then add hot linguine, the sweet chew of raisins, the subtle heat of crushed red pepper, tender bites of earthy cauliflower, and the crunch of toasted bread crumbs and I challenge even a staunch anchovy hater not to reconsider.
Linguine with Cauliflower Anchovies and Raisins
- 4 ounces dry linguine
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for finishing
- 1.5 ounce jar anchovies in olive oil such as Crown Prince
- 2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 small small head cauliflower cut into bite-size pieces
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs or other dry bread crumbs
- chopped fresh chives for garnish
- Cook linguine according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add anchovies with their oil and garlic - the mixture will sputter, so cover with a splatter screen if you have one. Cook and stir until garlic is tender and anchovies have melted.
- Add raisins and cauliflower to skillet; toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium low; cook and stir until cauliflower is tender and lightly brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
- While the cauliflower mixture cooks, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs to dry skillet and cook, stirring often until lightly brown. Remove from pan to a small bowl.
- When the linguine is al dente lift it with a pasta scoop and transfer directly to cauliflower mixture. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and finish with a swirl or two of olive oil.
- Sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs and chives over the top and serve.