Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cauliflower Salad


Like a lot of home cooks, what we make is often determined by what’s leftover in the refrigerator. I recently bought a large head of cauliflower to munch on in the afternoon as a healthy snack and soon realized there was no way I was going to eat all of it before it went bad. Unfortunately, I can’t stand cooked cauliflower; both the texture and the smell turn me off so I decided to make a raw cauliflower salad and went in search of one without mayonnaise. I settled on an Ann Burrell recipe for pickled cauliflower salad. I had no idea if we’d like it, but it sounded interesting and I’m happy to report we were both very pleasantly surprised. It's always fun to try something new, especially if you like it! The salad is fresh and crisp, not too vinegary, and the peppery arugula was perfect with it—a great change of pace from a green salad. I modified the recipe quite a bit to suit our tastes, especially to reduce the acidity of the pickling juice. Now what to do with that leftover mint in the hydrator… 
Cauliflower Salad
Serves 6
Ingredients For Pickling
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp. sea salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 tsp.Tabasco sauce
2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
3 bay leaves

Ingredients for Salad
¼ cup fennel, sliced very thin (use some fennel fronds to dress up the salad)
¼ cup radicchio, sliced very think
2 green onions, julienned
2 cups arugula
3 tbls. good quality olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Salt to taste

Preparation
Combine all the ingredients for pickling in covered container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Drain the cauliflower, discarding the bay leaves. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower together with the fennel, green onions, arugula, radiccio and oil. Plate the salad and sprinkle it with just bit of red pepper flakes.

Tips and Tidbits
You can add just about anything to this salad—carrots, bell pepper, tomatoes, or even zucchini would all taste great in it. This would be a perfect salad to bring a summer picnic. It’s so pretty with the different colors and would hold up well to transport. Just wait to toss it with the arugula and oil at the last minute.

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