The veggie side dish is always in need of a good shakeup, which is why we’re thrilled Athena Calderone’s new cookbook, Cook Beautiful, recently hit the shelves, just in time for the holidays. So who is her cookbook the perfect gift for (besides yourself that is)? “Anyone who appreciates beauty, loves to entertain, is passionate about cooking seasonally, and is interested in the art of presentation,” she says. Besides being the eye behind the lifestyle site EyeSwoon, she also happens to be an interior designer, which means her plating game is seriously on point.
Dig into these two scrumptious side dishes for one delicious preview of the season’s must-have cookbook, and don’t miss Athena’s collection of her favorite Chairish finds!
Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Zest, Parsley, Capers, and Jalapeño
Serves 4 to 6
1 head cauliflower, quartered, cored, and cut into bite-size florets
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large handful fresh parsley (about ½ cup/25 g), roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and thinly sliced
Flaky salt, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220˚C). Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the cauliflower, tossing the florets halfway through, until they are golden and crispy, 30 to 35 minutes total.
While the cauliflower is roasting, use a vegetable peeler to peel 3 strips of zest from the lemon. Cut each strip crosswise into very thin slices. Cut the lemon in half, reserving one half and storing the other for another use.
Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving bowl. Top it with the parsley, capers, jalapeño, and sliced lemon zest. Squeeze the mixture with the lemon half and drizzle it with more oil. Toss to coat all of the ingredients, and sprinkle with a pinch or two of the flaky salt.
Delicata Squash Agrodolce
2 delicata squash (about 2 pounds/910 g total), seeds removed and cut into ½-inch (12-mm) rounds
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons (60 ml) honey, divided
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon minced red habanero chile, or 1 red Fresno chile, minced
1/3 cup (75 ml) white wine vinegar
1 large lime, grated and juiced
5 or 6 fresh sage leaves, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pepitas, toasted
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190˚C). Place the squash in a large bowl and drizzle it with the oil and 2 tablespoons of the honey. Season with salt and pepper and toss until evenly coated.
Transfer the squash to two large rimmed baking sheets, spreading it in a single layer. Roast until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes per side, flipping the squash halfway through baking.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the habañero, vinegar, lime juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons honey to a boil. Season with a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is syrupy, 8 to 10 minutes.
Just before serving, spoon the agrodolce over the squash. Garnish with the sage, pepitas, and lime zest.
Photography by Jonny Miller, Courtesy of Athena Calderone