Cauliflower al Ajoarriero

Coliflor al Ajoarriero

Named after the muleteers who traded garlic around the inland meseta's towns and villages, ajoarriero dishes remain a part of everyday cooking. The salt cod ones are the most famous, but I like this dish from Valladolid because of the quieter flavors. This is, by the way, one of the region's few really distinctive vegetable dishes -- other than pisto and asadillo, both based on bell peppers -- and is great with a full red wine.

Servings: 4-6

Prep Time: 15 min.[PT15M]

Cook Time: 30 min.[PT30M]


1 large cauliflower
5 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
1 tsp rock salt or sea salt
3 tbsp olive oil and a little extra for frying
About 2 tsp pimentón, sweet or bittersweet (to taste)
Splash of wine vinegar


Wash and break the cauliflower into small florets and simmer in salted boiling water until just tender. Meanwhile, pound four of the garlic cloves, the parsley, and salt in a mortar. Stir in the olive oil and three tablespoonfuls of the cauliflower's cooking water.

Separately, sauté the final sliced clove of garlic in a little olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Turn the heat down to low, add the pimentón and a little wine vinegar, and stir in the mortar's contents. Bring everything briefly to a boil.

Drain the cooked cauliflower well in a colander, transfer to a heated serving dish, and pour the contents of the frying pan over the top.

Selected by Vicky Hayward
Recipe courtesy of Spain GourmeTour magazine.

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