Joe

Sicilian Cauliflower Salad

food picture of cauliflower salad

My hands down favorite winter vegetable is cauliflower. It’s crunchy when raw and slightly sweet. When roasted, it becomes this delicious caramelized side dish that goes great with almost anything.

When we were in Sicily last summer, I was again reminded of the interesting varied flavor combinations that can make the simplest ingredients come alive. My sister posted a delicious orange salad dressed up with the flavors of this island and it comes alive because of the additions. In fact, Sicily is known for being the source in Italy for delicious flavor ingredients such as anchovies, olives, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes and of course all manner of citrus 🍊.

I thought a simple cold cauliflower salad dressed with some of these ingredients would brighten up these winter days. I’m happy to say it was a success! I think the key to this dish is to not mess with the cauliflower. I simply blanched in salted water until it was crisp-tender and dressed it while still warm. You can use your imagination with ingredients here. Use the things you can find of good quality.

So enjoy a bright and cheery salad along side some sautéed fish or roasted chicken. You could certainly use this as an appetizer too.

Buon appetito 🎉 Joe

food picture of cauliflower salad
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Sicilian Cauliflower Salad


Description

The dressing ingredients can be changed to your liking. For example use different  olives that you prefer, switch out the almonds for pistachios or pine nuts or omit the anchovies. I suggest you go for a variety of colors and tastes (acidic, salty, sour, sweet).


Ingredients

Scale

Dressing ingredients

  • 4 oz Sicilian Castelvetrano olives, smashed, pits removed and cut into small pieces
  • 4 oz golden raisins, rehydrated in wam water, squeezed dry and chopped
  • 4 oz good quality sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated in wam water, squeezed dry and chopped
  • 48 oil packed anchovies, chopped
  • 4 oz blanched almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
  • 2 tbsp oil packed capers, drained and chopped if large
  • 48 oz caciocavallo cheese or mild provolone, cut up into small cubes

Main ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower head, broken into bite-sized florets
  • red peppercorns
  • 4 small blood oranges
  • red wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dressing ingredients as indicated in each description. Place them in little piles on a cutting board. These can be changed to your liking. For example use different  olives that you prefer, switch out the almonds for pistachios or pine nuts or omit the anchovies. I suggest you go for a variety of colors and tastes (acidic, salty, sour, sweet).
  2. Prepare the base dressing (olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper) for the salad in a large mixing bowl. Mix 1 part red wine vinegar and 3 parts good quality extra virgin olive oil. Add a big pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk vigorously to blend.
  3. Prepare a pot of hot water ample enough to boil the cauliflower florets. Bring to a  boil and add salt as you would to pasta water. Add the florets and stir. Once boiling again, boil for 4 minutes. Quickly remove to a strainer.
  4. Once the cauliflower stops steaming but is still hot, add to the base dressing and toss.
  5. Once the cauliflower has cooled to room temperature, add the remaining dressing ingredients and toss gently.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  7. At serving time, prepare the blood oranges. Cut off the 2 ends to make an orange that will stand flat on a board. Carefully slice off the pith working around the orange. Turn the orange on its side and slice in rounds.
  8. Arrange the cold salad on a plate. Arrange the orange slices and sprinkle with some red peppercorns.

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