Sam Sifton's Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy Bread Crumbs

roasted cauliflower with bread crumbs
Kate Williams

While mashed potatoes and green beans are no-brainers come Thanksgiving, that additional side dish or two can be a bit of a toss-up. That's where Sam Sifton's Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy Bread Crumbs from Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well comes in—pop it into the oven while your turkey rests. Roasted cauliflower is awesome on its own, at once creamy and caramelized, but the addition of crunchy anchovy bread crumbs takes the dish into Thanksgiving territory.

It doesn't taste of anchovies; instead the cauliflower tastes like the best extra-salty and crisp version of itself.

Why I picked this recipe: Roasted cauliflower is, in my opinion, brassica at its best. Buttery anchovy bread crumbs just make it that much better.

What worked: Everything about this recipe is spot-on. The anchovy flavor falls into the background, lending salty-funky flavor to the caramelized cauliflower.

What didn't: Nada. Add this to your Thanksgiving line-up, stat.

Suggested tweaks: You could add an extra herb or two here if you wanted (rosemary, thyme, or parsley would work well), and could interchange (or add) other brassica like broccoli or romanesco as well.

Reprinted with permission from Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton. Copyright 2012. Published by Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Recipe Facts



Active: 25 mins
Total: 50 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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  • For the Cauliflower:
  • 2 heads cauliflower
  • 8 to 10 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the Anchovy Bread Crumbs:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Break cauliflower into florets and toss in a bowl with sage, lemon zest, sugar, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread out on a large baking sheet. Place in oven and cook until tender and golden, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare bread crumbs. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan set over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add the anchovies, garlic, shallot, and bread crumbs. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden.

  3. In a large bowl, toss together cauliflower and bread crumbs and serve on a warmed platter.