Cauliflowers are at their best right now, so for a light but lively starter try Philippa Davis' roast cauliflower steaks with mozzarella and anchovy, garlic and chilli breadcrumbs

Use fresh cauliflowers for this light but lively starter. Philippa Davis’ roast cauliflower steaks with mozzarella and anchovy, garlic and chilli breadcrumbs packs a flavourful punch. For those not keen an anchovies, this works equally well with capers.

If you aren’t quite ready to banish the comfort food, try try our warm pigeon breast salad and spring onions. It’s light enough for the new season but still feels comforting when the temperatures drop.


Many ingredients are available all year round but some are still best eaten at certain times of year when they are naturally in season so at their most flavourful. If you know your cauliflowers are fresh you can skip the blanching stage and go straight to roasting them; if you are not sure, it is best to blanch them first otherwise they tend to dry out too much before going soft and sweet. This perfectly light but still lively starter is packed with satisfying flavours, from the salty anchovies to the creamy mozzarella. If you are not keen on anchovies you can replace them with a tablespoon of capers.

Serves 6

  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into six wedges
  • 2 dsp olive oil
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • 10 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Pinch dried chilli
  • 50g butter
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 red chicory, finely shredded
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 x balls of mozzarella

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and season with salt.

Blanch the cauliflower wedges for about 4 minutes then drain.

Lay them flat on a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until just going golden.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the anchovy, garlic and chilli then rub in the butter.

Scatter over the cauliflower and roast for a further 5 to 8 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are also golden.

To serve, place a wedge of cauliflower and some of the breadcrumbs on the plate, scatter on some parsley and shredded chicory, tear the mozzarella and arrange on top then finally grate some lemon zest and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Serve straight away.