Courtesy Mindy Oh, executive chef, Mora Italiano, Encino, CA
Mora Italiano in Encino, California, is an ode to the striking artistic splendor of 1960s Italy, with a menu that features Executive Chef Mindy Oh’s splashy, produce-driven takes on classic cooking. The pickled raisins in this showstopping vegetable centerpiece are a riff on traditional Italian agrodolce.
- 1 head cauliflower, base trimmed flat, leaves removed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup pickled golden raisins (ingredients and directions below)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped mint
Heat oven to 400˚F. Place cauliflower upright on baking sheet. In small bowl, combine olive oil, salt and pepper. Using basting brush, coat cauliflower in oil mixture. Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes, or until core of cauliflower can be pierced easily with knife. Raise heat to 550˚F.
Remove foil, and cook until golden brown, about 10–15 minutes.
Remove from oven. Cover with ¼ cup raisins, ½ teaspoon pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon cilantro and 1 tablespoon mint. Drizzle with pickling liquid, to taste. In small bowl, mix together remaining raisins, pepper flakes, lemon juice and herbs.
Carve cauliflower at table, and serve raisin mixture on side. Serves 4.
Add ½ cup golden raisins to heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup white-wine vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes to boil, then pour over raisins. Let cool before use.
Pasqua 2017 Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore. Fernando Trivisonno, general manager/sommelier at Mora Italiano, suggests pairing this tender-roasted vegetable based on its consistency. “The cauliflower is soft in texture, and so is this wine,” he says. “It has very soft tannins and is full-bodied, but doesn’t feel heavy, making it ideal for late summer.”