and while the meaning of smothering may vary amongst cooks, it’s basically a form of stovetop braising.
In France sauteèd aromatic vegetables are called mirepoix; for Italians it’s version soffritto, sofrito in Spanish, refogado in Portuguese. The ingredients vary from one culture to another, but they all create a flavor base for sauces, soups, and braises.
Louisiana Cajun and Creole cooks call theirs the holy trinity: onion, celery, and green bell pepper. And the frequently added fourth item, garlic, is sometimes called the pope.
Start by chopping a head of cauliflower, including the core, into roughly bite-sized pieces. Cook it in extra virgin olive oil with salt and black pepper in a heavy skillet on medium high for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is nicely browned.
Chop an onion, green bell pepper, jalapeño, a couple of celery stalks, and a couple of cloves of garlic. Add them to the cauliflower and cook for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
Add the Bianco di Napoli crushed tomatoes. You can substitute other canned tomatoes, but look for cans without addded calcium chloride. It’s added as a firming agent but prevents the tomatoes from breaking down. Whole tomatoes are usually the best bet, but you need to break them up.
Add a tablespoon apple cider vinegar, cover the pot, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve this over rice with Crystal hot sauce on the side.