This dish is associated with a distinct cooking technique called ‘sacsejar’, meaning to shake. In Mallorca, it’s a very typical way to cook, sweating down the ingredients in a large tightly sealed stockpot, almost like a pressure cooker but without the accelerated pressure!
- 2 tomatoes
- 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 150 g (5½ oz) pancetta or streaky bacon, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp aniseed or fennel seeds
- 4–5 spring onions (scallions), chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 tsp sweet pimentòn, plus extra for dusting
- 30 g (1 oz/¼ cup) raisins, roughly chopped
- 30 g (1 oz) pine nuts, toasted
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 parsley sprigs, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Using a sharp knife, score a cross in the base of the tomatoes. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the tomatoes for 2 minutes or until the skins start to curl away from the flesh. Immediately drain and plunge into iced water, then peel away the skins and cut the flesh into quarters. Remove and discard the seeds, then finely dice the flesh and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium–high heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 4–5 minutes, until golden, then add the aniseed, spring onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes, until the spring onion has softened. Stir through the chopped tomato and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium–low, add the cauliflower, pimentòn, raisins and pine nuts and stir well to combine.
- To create a tight seal for your pot, wrap the lid in at least one thick tea towel. Cover the pot with the wrapped lid and cook for 5 minutes. ‘Sacsejar’ the pot from time to time by shaking it from side to side, holding the lid tightly as you slide the pan back and forth over the burner. Open the lid to check if the ingredients are catching on the bottom and reduce the heat if so. Replace the lid and continue cooking for a further 15 minutes, carefully shaking the pot every 3 minutes or so.
- Transfer the braised cauliflower to a serving dish, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a little freshly chopped parsley sprinkled over the top.
Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99