Two summers ago, we traveled with the kids to the Hawaiian island of Kauai for my brother’s wedding. It’s a very long trip from Washington, DC to Kauai. After 13 hours of flight (including one layover at LAX), six time zones, games, movies, puzzles and play dough sculpting sessions galore, we finally arrived in beautiful, tranquil Kauai. We stunk. The kids were delirious. It was hard to believe it was only dinner time when so many hours had passed.
My brother’s mother-in-law to be, Sue, greeted us with a fine meal of scallops and linguine tossed in a traditional piccata sauce of shallots, capers, parsley, white wine and a ton of lemon. It was divine. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. However, my boys have recently decided they don’t like scallops. And I’ve almost stopped eating shrimp entirely thanks to this guy. So I recreated a version of this dish using deeply roasted cauliflower in place of the scallops and orecchiette (“little ears”) instead of linguine. You’ll find the recipe for my creation here. A few things to keep in mind…
Lemon zest and juice make this dish bright. My favorite way to juice lemons is simple. It’s been a while since I’ve shared. Take a room temperature lemon (let it sit in hot tap water for 10 minutes if it’s coming out of the fridge) and press down on it firmly while rolling it back and forth on a hard surface. This helps release the most juice. Cut the lemon in half, then squeeze the juice into a bowl with a cheese grater resting on top. This will catch the seeds.
Though I loved the combination of these flavors with pasta, you can enjoy the same without. To do so, wash the head of cauliflower and after you’ve removed the thick stem, slice it into thick “steaks” vertically as pictured above. Proceed with roasting the cauliflower in the same way the recipe calls for. Skip the pasta step and proceed to making the sauce. Serve the cauliflower “steak” with the sauce on top. This is a spectacular vegetarian main course or a nice side with a simple roast chicken.