1 large head cauliflower (about 3 pounds)*
Extra-virgin olive oil or mixture of canola and extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup drained capers, dried
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon chile flakes
Thinly-sliced pickled Calabrese peppers (optional)**
* When purchasing cauliflower, look for a cauliflower heat that has a creamy white color with florets that are free of blemishes, browning, or wet spots. The head of cauliflower should feel heavy in your hand. If the cauliflower has a strong smell, it is past its prime and will have an unpleasant taste. Whole heads of cauliflower can be kept in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for 4 to 7 days.
** Peppadew Sweet Piquant Peppers may be substituted.
Cut the cauliflower in large even-size florets by cutting around the core, down around the stem. The cauliflower will break down as it cooks, so keep it in large segments of about two cluster each.
Dry well with a clean dish towel if wet or damp. If the cauliflower does not fit in the pan without crowding, fry one batch first, drain, then fry the second batch and follow with the parsley, capers, and garlic. Place a metal strainer over a bowl; set aside.
In a wide shallow pan with a heavy bottom, pour 1/2-inch olive oil. Heat the olive oil on high heat until very hot but not smoking.
Place the cauliflower in the pan and cook on high heat until it begins to brown, about 1 minute, then reduce to medium-high and continue cooking until it is deeply brown all over, flipping over to fry all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Season well with salt. NOTE: The oil should stay bubbly hot. By the time the cauliflower is deeply browned, it should be pretty much cooked through.
When the cauliflower is 1 to 2 minutes from being done, add the parsley, capers, and garlic. Cook until the garlic has browned, then add the chile flakes.
Remove from heat and immediately drain into the strainer. Allow to drain well before seasoning with salt to taste and tossing with the peppers, if using.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.